Obama’s Smooth Moves
Releasing bad news on a Friday is politics 101. It’s still a smart play, and Sen. Obama did just that by giving interviews on Rezko and releasing a statement on Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Sean Hannity began the noise on Wright last year when he purchased several of Wright’s sermons on DVD and made hay of them on his own show. In response to the then mostly invisible controversy, Obama dis-invited the reverend to an event.
This year, occasionally we saw the clips from Wright played on the political junkie shows, like Anderson Cooper’s 360, but the pundit class didn’t go into full frothing mouth mode over Wright until after Ferraro’s racist spew. While Clinton’s campaign team didn’t start the peering into Wright’s sermons, you can bet they were on the phone with reporters for the last couple of days begging and pleading with them to discuss Wright in hopes of taking the Ferraro story off the front pageThe “look, Black people are racist, too” card is the last refuge of political scoundrels. (Josh M thinks so, too, though I am not sold completely on them using race as a strategy, more of a tactic).
Now that Wright is resigning from his position and Obama has offered up strong rebukes of Wright’s statements and conspiracy theories, the story has lost its legs. Oh, Cooper may still try to drum up controversy over Obama’s statements that he’d never heard Wright’s sermons condemning America to hell, but few will remember the matter by the Pennsylvania primary, and by August he will be a vague memory.
Obama’s statements on Rezko came out with less fanfare, even though questions of whether Obama profited from the actions of an alleged crook are more important than what his pastor said a few years ago. That just shows how powerful the issues regarding race and racism are. And you can be sure the controversy over Wright is more about race than patriotism. The recently retired Kleinheider noted wisely that White people read Wright’s statements and hear the words but somehow they sound as if he said he wanted to kill Whitey.
That’s why ACK may also be correct in that the Wright issue will come up again later in a “Swift boat” style attack ad (though McCain has good reason to steer clear of this issue). That would be a poor play in light of Obama’s extensive “denounce and reject” media blast held today. It’s all on the record, in print and on tape, and you know if it doesn’t happen on television it’s as if it never happened at all.
Interesting side note: Al @ The Field argues that it would have been better for the Wright story to stay up as a way of putting the fatality blow on the Obama is a Muslim meme. I thought that would be a beneficial side effect myself, however, after seeing the Right pounce on Wright’s comments it is clear that it would be best to make an early distancing move. Obama is too good at parrying attacks, and could not afford to allow this to blossom into a real Swift boat situation.