Ah ! well a-day ! what evil looks
Had I from old and young !
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.
-Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Barack's got a big ,ole, fat one hanging around his neck these days, and it's one that may have the wherewithal to choke the life out of the Senator's up-to-now seemingly invincible march to the Democrat Party nomination and onward to the White House.
There's much speculation as to why Obama joined Rev. Wright's church in the first place. My belief, given the candidate's enormous intelligence and far-sightedness, is that Barack realized early on that any pol with hopes of being elected president one day needs to be able to at least pay (insincere) lip service to being a member of some organized religious institution, preferably one on his home turf.
He did some recon work in the hood, saw Wright's church close by, saw members dutifully reporting for duty and Sundays and, voila!, he had a church affiliation. Its membership was largely if not exclusively African-American; it was in close ontic proximity to his own residence so he wouldn't have to schlep too far on the occasional visits he knew he was obliged to make.
But Barack didn't seem to pay attention to the fact the the preacher of the church tended to rather inflammatory sermons whose ontological proximity to Obama's thoughts were as far removed as was the church building close.
Surmising that he didn't attend services on any kind of regular basis, and that when he was actually there, the last thing on his mind was listening to some ranting showman in costume on stage.
Now he's paying the price for his politically motivated hypocrisy.
HRC and McCain have hung the good Reverend around Obama's neck like a wreath of glimmering gold. And the good man of god that he certainly is, Wright is milking every second of his 15 minutes of fame, the damage to his church member be--like America--damned!
What the hell can Barack do to de-couple himself from this relic of a bygone era in American race relations? (BTW, this is also a question Johnny Mac is going to have to ponder regarding de-coupling him from Bush.)
Obama has already began the process by roundly denouncing some of Wright's more outrageous, ignorant utterance, using incrementally stronger and stronger language as the fiasco plays out. But the second problem that he's got to address is: Why has it taken the public broadcast of the Wright tapes to spur Barack's denunciations? Where were these opinions the last 20 years? That's a major league curveball question. But that's the test of a major league hitter...tons of guys can hit the fastball, but the guys who make it to the majors gotta be able to hit the curveball too.
None of the very few options Obama has on question 2 are very attractive. He can simply be honest, implicitly admit a bit of hypocrisy is showing, and say he hardly went to the church and that when he did it was merely to be among the neighborhood folk whom he represented...it was more a social than a deep religious event for him. Wright's sermons were epiphenomal to social aspects of church attendance that Barack enjoyed.
He can plunge the knife into the nattily attired Reverend even deeper by saying something like, "Jeremiah needed to rile up the congregation a little, get 'em shouting and yelling and in the mood to contribute...it goes with the territory, along with serious counseling work and spiritual education. There aren't many similarities, but pastoring and politicking do cross paths at times...."
But, obviously, Barack, since he is soooo elite, much be constantly on guard of saying something that will further reinforce that opinion of him with the masses, both white and non-white.
Finally, Obama can try to kill two birds with one stone (pardon the [albatross] pun,) by linking Rev. Wright and John McCain as "good" men from another time, another era. "Their values were formed when the country was in turmoil, be it the Vietnam War, the Cold War with the USSR, or the civil rights movement. They grew up in a time when African-Americans couldn't drink from the same public water fountains as white people; and a time when soldiers were being spat upon on the street of the United States. Men like Wright and McCain need our understanding, not more of our hate...."
The problem facing Obama is not going to die a natural death from lack of attention. It needs proactive eradication, and soon.