It now seems that Reverend Wright has no friends. Either because he has lathered his previous remarks in "context" or because he has shown himself unwilling to take one for the team, the debate is now all about what his association with Obama means.
Our Democrat friends tell us to look away. Wright is not running for office. Obama hasn't said that he shares these views. He's said that he does not. Look at his position papers. They aren't so bad.
This reflects a misunderstanding of the way in which we elect Presidents and our recent history of Democrat candidates who try to run right in the hopes of governing left. Obama has little national history. We don't know who he is and he has been maddeningly vague about that. To paraphrase Hillary, he's heavy on poetry and light on prose. He'll slip into class warfare rhetoric occasionally and has random moments of candor. We can look at his relatively spare record in the Senate (and not like what we see)but his campaign is based on pretty words with little substance. We know he thinks that we "can" do something about "them" but the details are a bit fuzzy.
Policy wonks point us to his position papers but the details don't match the rhetoric. The country isn't going to be changed by a one percent tax credit for the creation of domestic jobs or rolling back the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000/year. We do know that he wants to get out of Iraq. We sense that he's an a naive internationalist in the sense of Jimmy Carter on foreign policy. We suspect that he might be a protectionist and that he is farther to the left on domestic issues than he wants to admit.
That he sought out Reverend Wright, adopted him as a father figure and mentor, took the inspiration and title for his campaign biography from a sermon that may have contained some of Wright's more noxious views, prayed with him before announcing his candidacy, had him perform his marriage and baptize his children tells us that what we suspect may well be true. It's not that he doesn't "love" his country or that he shares Reverend Wright's inflamed resentment. It's that Wright's views are apparently within what he regards as the scope of responsible discourse. They offend him now, but they obviously did not over the course of the past twenty years. That doesn't mean that he shares everyone of them, but it does tell us something about where hs is.
That he told us on (figureatively) Monday that he could no more disown Wright than his grandmother and then, with no new information other than Wright's refusal to shut up, disowned him on Tuesday is also instructive.