wright22.jpgUCC blogger Chuck Currie writes that the Wright controversy is beside the point:

This weekend and today The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, a colleague of mine in the United Church of Christ (thought we do not know each other personally), spoke out for the first time since controversy erupted over some of his sermons.
Of course, the media and some political agents of candidates attempted to see Dr. Wright’s comments as somehow new and thus deserving of the 24-hour cable news treatment normally reserved for stories involving escaped wildlife in suburban neighborhoods or the following of high speed car chases.
In the end, all of this is meant to be a distraction. What people are really worried about are issues such as the war, the health care crisis, crumbling schools, the soaring price of food and gas, and how after centuries of division we can find racial reconciliation. These are the moral issues that deserve national attention.

Sure, voters are concerned about issues. But they’re equally concerned about character. That’s especially true for Obama, whose campaign is less predicated on issues (on which he’s 90-percent with Hillary Clinton, anyway) and more about his special character–his supposedly unique ability to transcend the nation’s old cultural, racial, class, and religious fractures to unite the country and move it forward from its current partisan paralysis. As Obama said Sunday on Fox, “The fact he’s my former pastor I think makes it a legitimate political issue. So I understand that.”
It was Obama who made character, his own faith, and his distinct life experiences central components of his candidacy. That’s partly why the Wright controversy is so much more difficult for him to respond to it than for a an issues-based candidate.
It’s ironic that in recent days Obama has seemed to fall prey to so many of the cultural divisions he was intent on transcending. He’s suffering among working class voters, particularly since his off the cuff remarks about small town Americans clinging to God and guns. Religious voters broke for Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania. And now Wright’s resurfacing threatens to scare off whites.


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