Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama's No Good, Very Bad Week

What a god awful week for Obama. First his former pastor goes onto Bill Moyers show for a softball interview and undercuts Obama by saying this:
"He's a politician and I'm a pastor. We speak to two different audiences. And he says what he has to say as a politician and I say what I have to say as a pastor, those are two different worlds. I do what I do, he does what politicians do so what happened in Philadelphia, where he had to respond to the sound bites, he responded as a politician."
Then Obama goes onto Fox News for an interview with Chris Wallace. Now, this move is not indisputably bad. I've heard some pundits suggest that it shows a willingness to go into the belly of the beast, thereby showing strength and introducing himself to viewers who's only knowledge of him comes from conservative propaganda (a major proponent of which, ironically, is Fox News). 

Maybe, maybe not. I think it was a bad move. A thumb in the eye to his staunchest (and most progressive) supporters. It certainly pissed off most of the progressive blogosphere, including many diarists at Daily Kos and Open Left, people who've taken a lot of heat from Clintonites for their support. I'm not sure what he was hoping to gain. From my point of view, it's the first really big misstep from an otherwise brilliantly run campaign so far. On the other other hand, they seem to know what they're doing, so maybe it was a strategically good move and I should just view it as such and swallow the anger.

Then, to make matters worse, Pastor Wright makes a couple of encore performances in front of the National Press Club and the NAACP, making incredibly offensive and just plain stupid jokes, reiterating previous controversial remarks, reinjecting the racially-divisive ideas, and generally making life miserable for Obama. Whether out of narcissism, anger, or hurt, Wright as in effect, thrown Obama under the bus on Moyers' show, then, in the succeeding speeches, put the bus in reverse and backed up over him—twice. 

Obama has little choice but to respond. And respond hard. His speech in Philadelphia last month was remarkable for its elegance and nuance. Obama won well-deserved kudos for distancing himself from the controversial remarks of his spiritual mentor without actually turning his back on the man. Well, that man has now turned his back on Obama, and in a way that Obama can't ignore. He has to address this and distance himself from the man now. Vigorously. Unequivocably.

For the first time this campaign, I'm actually concerned that Obama won't make it. 

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