Jeremiah Wright has thrown Barack Obama under the bus and he has stepped on the gas. The consensus is in — whatever Wright’s motive, this doesn’t look good for Obama.
Here’s some of the opinions around the news and the sphere:
Joan Walsh on Salon: I was wrong about Wright
I regret that I hedged my observation about Wright’s narcissism. He may be wounded, but this is a man of enormous self-regard, and he’s clearly trying to hurt Barack Obama. His national rehabilitation tour started fairly sympathetically with the Moyers conversation, but it’s devolved into self-pity and self-glorification ever since.
Marc Ambinder: Wright Politics
The Obama campaign knows that Wright is throwing Obama under the bus, and they’re of two minds about the political repercussions.
Our colleague Jeff Zeleny tells us that associates of Mr. Obama said privately that his campaign was furious at Mr. Wright’s decision to step forward so publicly, but that they were unable to do anything to control this. They added, however, that the pastor’s actions prove that he and Mr. Obama are not that close, otherwise why would Mr. Wright do this now?
That’s easy–because Wright has become embittered at Obama since the initial controversy last month, even if Obama never actually threw him under the bus. (Ambinder says the men have spoken once since then and that “the conversation was not especially pleasant.”) Wright also now possesses a new level of fury at a media/cultural establishment he feels has demonized him, and that, too, might override any qualms he had about damaging Obama.
A very unhappy Andy Sullivan: Wright’s Poison
I didn’t watch Jeremiah Wright’s National Press Club performance live this morning, as every other blogger seemed to. Wright is not on the ticket of any major party, he is not Barack Obama, and I’m not going to be baited into making this campaign about him, or the boomer cultural racial obsessions that so many want this vital election to be about.
But then I actually read what he said.
I knew he was an exhibitionist; many of his sermons at Trinity, read in their entirety, do fall within the tradition of some prophetic teaching; I can forgive occasional outbursts from fiery preachers; he has done much good in his own neighborhood and his interview with Bill Moyers struck me as defensible; parts of his address at the Press Club were completely uncontroversial and even contained some important truths.
But what he said today extemporaneously, the way in which he said it, the unrepentant manner in which he reiterated some of his most absurd and offensive views, his attempt to equate everything he believes with the black church as a whole, and his open public embrace of Farrakhan and hostility to
the existence of IsraelZionism, make any further defense of him impossible. This was a calculated, ugly, repulsive, vile display of arrogance, egotism, and self-regard:
His claim that the September 11 attacks mean “America’s chickens are coming home to roost”?
Wright defended it: “Jesus said, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you. Those are biblical principles, not Jeremiah Wright bombastic divisive principles.”
His views on Farrakhan and Israel? “Louis said 20 years ago that Zionism, not Judaism, was a gutter religion. He was talking about the same thing United Nations resolutions say, the same thing now that President Carter’s being vilified for and Bishop Tutu’s being vilified for. And everybody wants to paint me as if I’m anti-Semitic because of what Louis Farrakhan said 20 years ago. He is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century; that’s what I think about him. . . . Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains, he did not put me in slavery, and he didn’t make me this color.”
He denounced those who “can worship God on Sunday morning, wearing a black clergy robe, and kill others on Sunday evening, wearing a white Klan robe.” He praised the communist Sandinista regime of Nicaragua. He renewed his belief that the government created AIDS as a means of genocide against people of color (“I believe our government is capable of doing anything”).
This is an outright attack on the stated beliefs and policies and values of Barack Obama in a secular setting.
Dana Milbank in the WaPo: Wright’s Voice Could Spell Doom for Obama
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, explaining this morning why he had waited so long before breaking his silence about his incendiary sermons, offered a paraphrase from Proverbs: “It is better to be quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
Barack Obama‘s pastor would have been wise to continue to heed that wisdom.
Should it become necessary in the months from now to identify the moment that doomed Obama’s presidential aspirations, attention is likely to focus on the hour between nine and ten this morning at the National Press Club. It was then that Wright, Obama’s longtime pastor, reignited a controversy about race from which Obama had only recently recovered – and added lighter fuel.
Amy Sullivan on Time: Jeremiah Wright Goes to War
Maybe Barack Obama skimped on his contribution when the offering plate came past at Trinity United Church of Christ. Or perhaps he nodded off during one of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s sermons. It’s hard to think of another reason why the Illinois Senator’s former pastor would put on the kind of performance this morning at the National Press Club that can only be described as a political disaster.
Nedra Pickler in AP News: Wright does Obama little good
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is going after his critics on an incendiary tour that is doing his one-time congregant, Barack Obama, little good.
NRO’s The Campaign Spot: Jeremiah Wright May Have Just Sunk Obama’s Campaign
Obama is saying he should be president, instead of two much more experienced rivals, because of his superior judgment. But what kind of judgment is needed to select Wright as a surrogate father figure?
And Obama responds: Judge my words, not Wright’s
“I think people will understand that I am not perfect and that there are going to be folks in my past like Rev. Wright that may cause them some concern but that ultimately my 20 years of service and the values that I’ve written about and spoken about and promoted are their values and what they’re concerned about,” Obama said.
The Illinois senator spoke at a hastily arranged press conference on the airport tarmac in Wilmington, N.C., as media traveling with him were about to board his campaign plane. [...]
“Some of the comments that Rev. Wright has made offend me, and I understand why they offend the American people. He does not speak for me. He does not speak for the campaign,” Obama said.
“Many of the statements that he’s made, both that triggered this initial controversy and that he’s made over the last several days, are not statements that I have heard him make previously. They don’t represent my views,” the senator added.
The list goes on and on… Memeorandum has all the buzz.
Time will tell just how bad this will play out for Obama but for now it simply looks bad for Obama. No politician is perfect, but as I said here when Wright’s sermons first hit the news, it’s hard to fathom Obama was not aware of some of the things Wright has been preaching over the years. Many American’s are offended by Obama’s former preacher and the long-term relationship between the two men really looks like a poor judgment call on Obama’s part.