Yesterday Barack Obama decided that he could, in fact, disown Jeremiah Wright. So much for his speech in Philadelphia being a singular event in American history that will be studied years from now.
But Wright said nothing over the weekend that he has not said before. What's changed?
The charitable explanation is the Obama has learned that his conservative critics - the ones that he said were raising distractions and taking Reverend Wright out of context - were right all along. The claims that the increasingly numerous outtakes from Wright's eruptions did not reflect the pastor's views or that Fox News somehow unfairly edited his remarks were destroyed by Wright himself. He decided to repeat most of them before a national audience in a way that made no attempt to hide his anger and smug moral arrogance. Maybe Obama's eyes were finally opened. Thus his statement that, perhaps, "I may not know [Wright]as well as I thought ...."
How to put this charitably?
It doesn't scan.
It is implausible to the point of impossibility that Obama could have had the type of relationship that he had with Wright and not know that the pastor (whose anthropology actually controls his theology) thinks that America is a god awful place that is in need of radical alteration. It is incredulous that Obama, over those twenty years, did not come to know that the man who he identified as akin to a father figure believes that our country's sins (which are hardly unique to the human condition)outweigh its virtues. Unless Obama was, as Kathleen Parker puts it, a "clueless naif," he had to be familiar with views that are, as he explained at the National Press Club, at the core of the "prophetic" call of the church that he headed and that Obama was part of for twenty years.
But even if he somehow managed to miss the essentials of Wright's world and spiritual view, he had certainly become aware of it by the time of the Philadelphia speech.
What has changed is that Wright wouldn't shut up. What has changed is that Wright suggested that the man he has known and counseled for twenty years distanced himself from his pastor, not because he disagrees, but for political reasons. This, was apparently the worst thing. "And what I think particularly angered me," Obama said, " was [Wright's]suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing."
Obama apparently couldn't disavow Wright for suggesting that America brought 9/11 upon itself, couldn't disown him for spewing hate about the US deliberately addicting blacks to drugs and infecting them with AIDS, wouldn't denounce him for suggesting that our country is damned in the eyes of God, wasn't much moved by Wright's support for Louis Farrakhan and belief that Zionism is racism.
But Wright's decision that his beliefs (or ego) are more important than Obama's presidential aspirations? His suggestion that the man he has known so well is actually sympathetic to his world view? His refusal to go along?