Never mind that the excerpt that was run repeatedly, not only by Fox News and the entire A.M. dial, but by the lame-stream media, in which Wright says the now infamous “God damn America” line was taken completely out of context and that the entire sermon – available even then on youtube – clearly indicated he was quoting someone else. Never mind that then candidate Barack Obama distanced himself from the remarks and ostensibly threw his former pastor under the bus in a very lengthy repudiation, which did not sit too well with many African Americans. Never mind that the strategy of the Right – to somehow link Obama to some radical interpretation of Christianity that Wright was espousing – failed miserably at the ballot box in the fall of ’08.
Never mind all that. The wingnuts apparently have decided to have at it again and this time they’re pulling out all the stops – as if they held back last time around. “Author” Ed Klein, whose claim to fame is an upcoming unauthorized biography of Obama, interviewed Wright for three hours and then appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program to gloat about his superb journalistic acumen.
I’ll spare you the gory details and cut to the chase. Wright, still feeling the stings of betrayal, repaid his former congregant by throwing him under the bus. The moral of the story is never piss off your pastor, especially one with a very long memory. The simple truth is that Obama had no choice back in ’08. He was being hounded by the Clintons and his nomination was at stake. Wright should’ve known that then, as well as now.
Yes, Barack Obama, in condemning his former pastor’s fiery brand of pulpit preaching, showed he was a politician after all and, yes, he did change once he got into the White House – a fact that every progressive has had to painfully accept going all the way back to JFK. So what?
What was the supposed purpose of Klein’s interview? To prove that there are still disenchanted progressives out there who feel that Obama has been a big disappointment? Stop the presses! To steal a line from Casablanca: I’m shocked to discover that gambling is going on here. Really now, progressives have been disappointed ever since Dwight Eisenhower beat Adlai Stevenson, not once but twice. They’ve always managed to get over it somehow.
No, the real reason behind the Klein interview had nothing to do with Wright’s perceived disappointment in or betrayal of the President. [To the minions on the Right, anything remotely to the left of their private myopic Idaho might as well be the Soviet Union for all they know or care.] The sole motive of Klein and Hannity was to pick a four-year old scab and get it bloody enough so that conservative evangelicals, who have always loathed the brand of liberation theology Wright preached from his pulpit and publicly doubted Obama’s Christianity from day one, will get all ginned up and come out to the polls this November.
Of course what Klein, Hannity and now Joe Ricketts, the billionaire who funds a super PAC that is thinking of running the Wright footage in campaign ads this fall, are forgetting is this: the target market of such ads hardly needs motivation to vote against the President. As I have said on several occasions, these people would vote for a pet rock over Obama. Ginning them up is the definition of superfluous.
In fact, it was the incessant beating of this dead horse that ended up driving away many independent voters in ’08. You don’t win in politics by preaching to the choir; you win by persuading the undecided. Virtually every poll conducted that fall indicated that most voters did not think the issue was all that important to them.
And that’s why Mitt Romney was quick to denounce the plan to revisit Waterloo. “I want to make it very clear, I repudiate that effort. I think it's the wrong course for a PAC or a campaign. I hope that our campaigns can be respectively about the future and about issues and about vision for America.”
Whatever else you might say about Romney – he’s spineless, has no principles, will say or do anything to get elected, made his money off other people’s misfortune, and is a phony – know this much: he’s no idiot. In fact he’s a quick study. After playing crazy to the loony tunes in the Tea Party to ostensibly wipe the floor with his opponents, no doubt he will pivot back over to the center and attempt to portray himself as more adult than Obama.
Note the high road he took after Obama came out in support of gay marriage. Romney knows a failed strategy when he sees one and he will avoid it like the plague. Why? Because John McCain couldn’t. He picked Sarah Palin for his VP and then allowed her to go rogue and the result was he got his assed kicked. Mitt Romney has no intention of getting his ass kicked, especially by his own party. Look for one theme – and one theme only – for the next five and a half months: the economy, the economy, the economy!
Unfortunately for him, the people who have hijacked the Republican Party have a different view on things. They earnestly believe that the problem isn’t that voters don’t give a rat’s ass about things like Reverend Wright or Bill Ayers or birth certificates or what kind of dog meat Obama ate when he was a kid; it’s that they haven’t done a good enough job of articulating it to them. If only the voters really knew the “truth” about the President then they could be turned around. In other words, they weren’t tough enough on Obama. They gave him a free pass.
Of course we’re also talking about people who believe that the Great Recession of 2008 was brought about by over regulation and excessive government spending, so things like reason, facts and logic are not real high on the agenda, if you know what I mean. That’s what happens when you spike the punch with acid. You start believing your own hallucinations.
If you thought the last two election cycles were tough to watch, as Bachman-Turner Overdrive once sang, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Last time, the Right threw the kitchen sink at the electorate. This time it’ll be the septic tank.
So roll up your pants legs and hold your noses, folks. It’s gonna get knee deep this summer.