Beliefnet
God-O-Meter

wright23.jpgIt’s no surprise that my conservative Beliefnet colleague Rod Dreher is openly pondering whether Barack Obama is in need of a Sister Soulja moment wherein he disowns Jeremiah Wright. What is more remarkable is how different the reaction is from opinion shapers who’ve been more sympathetic to Obama–in some cases, outright supportive of him–since Wright’s appearance yesterday at the National Press Club than it was to when the high octane Wright sermons started making the rounds on TV a a month and a half ago. A sampling:
Andrew Sullivan:

Obama needs not just to distance himself from Wright’s views; he needs to disown him at this point…. We need a speech or statement from Obama in which he utterly repudiates this poison, however personally difficult that may be, however damaging the impact will be. The statement today will not do it.

The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson:

Politically, by surfacing now, he was throwing Barack Obama under the bus.
Sadly, it’s time for Obama to return the favor.

The New York Times’ Bob Herbert:

Mr. Obama seems more and more like someone buffeted by events, rather than in charge of them.

So will Obama disown Wright? There’s one small problem, as Frank James notes in the Baltimore Sun:

The problem for Obama is that he has already said that he can’t or won’t disown Wright. In his race speech in Philadelphia, he essentially said he could no more break with Wright than he could African-Americans generally:
I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.
After such declarative statements, Obama is pretty much stuck with a Wright who has already absolved himself of any further damage he may do to his former congregant.


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