Friday, March 14, 2008

"crazy uncle talk" won't cut it

Polimom at The Moderate Voice:

I firmly believe that Barack Obama’s feelings and views about race are precisely as he’s presented them — both on the campaign trail and in his books. However, I also think Obama’s going to have to draw very strong, clear distinctions between himself and Jeremiah Wright for the citizens of this country — much more than he’s thus far done.

I think this is spot on. Obama attended Wright's sermons for twenty years. That does not mean he became a disciple of Wright's views. Indeed, it appears that Obama has come to reject the entire philosophical foundation of identity politics. But you simply can't pretend that people won't question just how much of Wright's views Obama has absorbed. Especially people who don't know Obama very well and have to rely on the (often unreliable) news media coverage of his background.

Obama cannot simply dismiss this as "crazy uncle talk". His supporters cannot simply waive it off as unreasonable to conclude that Wright's views are Obama's views.

Politics is about emotion, not reason. And many people, upon hearing that Obama's minister of 20 years chants "God Damn America" from the pulpit, will immediately conclude, at an emotional level, that Obama feels the same way. Obama needs to respond to this with an emotional appeal of his own that lays out precisely how he does feel about America. And he is certainly capable of giving a speech that would assuage people's concerns.

If he doesn't then this will hurt him. If he doesn't then the GOP will smell the weakness on this point and will hammer him for it. And then it will be even harder to respond.

This is not silly folks. This is it. This is the moment that could define whether Obama has what it takes to face the full onslaught of the right wing noise machine.

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