Barack Obama's inaction and lack of foresight and initiative in pro-actively dealing with the Reverend Wright fiasco caused the Democratic Party specifically, and African Americans in general, to suffer significant election-era damage.
Now he'll attempt to repair the damage - a position he finds himself in a lot these days. Here's Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics (emphasis mine).
Early yesterday afternoon word broke that Barack Obama would be giving a "major speech" in Philadelphia today addressing "the larger issue of race in this campaign." The hasty announcement underscores the treacherous political ground Obama finds himself on just days after ABC News ran a four-minute segment highlighting some of the hate-filled language of his former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
So far, Obama's attempts to squelch the controversy surrounding Reverend Wright's incendiary rhetoric have failed. Obama will take another stab at trying to defuse the issue today, and whether he succeeds or not will depend on what he says and how it's received by the media and the public.
The problem Obama faces is simple but stark: in announcing his bid for the White House, the junior Senator from Illinois promised a "new kind of politics" built around a post-racial and, to a lesser degree, a post-partisan unity and harmony. Over the course of the campaign he has also asserted repeatedly that experience is less important than judgment - a claim he backs up in every instance by referring to his 2002 speech against Iraq.
But after this week's revelation about Wright, Obama's 20-year relationship with the pastor calls into question his promise of a post-racial era in American politics and his judgment, thus undermining the two core rationales of his candidacy.
Obama's handling of the controversy has only raised more questions. Juxtaposed with clips of Wright's shocking diatribes in ABC News report, for example, was an undated video clip of Obama describing his pastor as "not particularly controversial." Nor did Obama's claim of never having been in the pews at Trinity Church when Reverend Wright said something incendiary or controversial seem completely believable. As others have noted, Obama was not totally oblivious to Wright's reputation: in February 2007 Obama rescinded an invitation (at the last minute) for Wright to give the invocation at Obama's official announcement in Springfield.
The fact that there doesn't appear to be any record of Obama ever protesting or condemning any of Wright's outrageous utterances over the years - until confronted with them this week - is particularly lethal to Obama because it only adds to the suspicions that he's less a principled agent of change than a pragmatic politician trying to have it both ways.
As I've already said (but it bears repeating) Obama is demonstrating how wholly inadequate he is as a chief executive. Sitting on this problem until it boiled over and spilled all over the front pages is rank amateurism, and indicative of a man who sticks his head in the sand rather than pro-actively managing a crisis.
And in this case the crisis is of his own making.
What will happen next? We'll see Obama give a speech, then deflect press inquiries in the weeks that follow and not answer follow-up questions by claiming that he's "already answered all of the questions," and adding that he "hopes race will no longer be a dividing aspect in American politics."
And he just won't see the hypocrisy...
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