White House hopeful Barack Obama suggests he would have left his Chicago church had his longtime pastor, whose fiery anti-American comments about U.S. foreign policy and race relations threatened Obama's campaign, not stepped down.
''Had the reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying at the church,'' Obama said Thursday during a taping of the ABC talk show, ''The View.'' The interview will be broadcast Friday.
Most of you by now know what I think of the Wright flap - i.e. that it's a bullshit moral panic and not worth the wasted ink. Obama initially used it as an opportunity to discuss racial issues on a different level, encouraging us to understand black frustrations (and encouraging black people to understand white frustrations too). That was ballsy.
This is not. This is a pander, pure and simple. As I mentioned in the comments, I simply don't buy the notion that someone would leave a church they otherwise enjoy over a political disagreement. Obviously Obama, or someone on his campaign, realized that a plea to understand Wright and comprehend that his relationship with the pastor went beyond a couple controversial statements went over the heads of most Americans. So he decided to tell people what they wanted to hear.
And when you think about it, isn't that basically what the Obama campaign exists upon? Telling people what they want to hear - stuff about hope and change and all that - and avoiding hard truths? Come to think about it, isn't that what all political campaigns in recent years have done? The last hard truth I think anyone heard out of a presidential candidate's mouth was Walter Mondale's promise to raise taxes in 1984... and we know how well that turned out.
I still prefer Obama to McCain by a long shot, and I still don't know whether I'll vote for him or Hillary Clinton in May. But so much for Obama being a new kind of politician.
Related question that America needs to ask itself: we whine all the time about how politicians should have the courage of their convictions. But if a politican actually had the courage of their convictions, would he/she have the vaguest chance in hell of winning a national race? I'll answer that now - absolutely not. So shouldn't we be honest with ourselves and say that we want a candidate who agrees with us rather than one who takes principled stands with which we don't agree? Couldn't we just quit asking candidates to appear principled while they're pandering to us?