Friday, March 14, 2008

A Fight We Can Win

At TPM, they're asking if today's cycle against Barack Obama's minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is a "death blow" to his candidacy. Some seem to think so. It's all over the news right now. Both Dick Polman and Will Bunch seem to think this is really going to haunt Mr. Obama.

Rev. Wright has delivered some controversial sermons over the years. I won't go over the specifics other than to say that he has levied some angry criticisms of the United States government's history of exploitation. Some criticisms have historical merit while other lines just refer to famous conspiracy theories.

Either way, the media will focus on certain lines that can easily be labeled as anti-American, anti-Semitic, or otherwise racially divisive and insensitive.

Some have also criticized Mr. Obama's most recent explanation as not a forceful enough denunciation.


I'm just not that concerned. I'd be happy to meet Mr. McCain half way in a debate on the controversial statements of some of the fundamentalist leaders that advise his campaign.

I don't think this Wright controversy is going to be that big a problem. Who's going to get ticked off? Fundamentalist Christians that have already decided that Mr. Obama is a Muslim anyway?

Certainly some of Rev. Wright's statements are going to be brought up throughout Mr. Obama's campaign. But won't it be more of an annoying thorn and not a gaping wound?

Voters have tended not to hold politicians accountable for what their preachers preach. Those that have decided that Mr. Obama is insufficiently pro America to be President have never been and never would have been Obama supporters.

Mr. Polman brought up the Jewish vote.

There are a lot of neoconservatives amongst that voting bloc, I'm afraid, though Jewish people still tend to vote largely for progressive candidates. For some reason, people don't seem willing to acknowledge that neoconservative Jews do indeed represent a significant minority portion of the Jewish vote that election analysts still tend to monolithically attribute to the Democratic caucus. The neocons among the Jewish population were probably never going to vote for Barack Obama. Neoconservative Jews will make a big stink about Rev. Wright while most Jews will just vote for the Democrats.

Or the Jewish vote, comprising a microscopic portion of the electorate, will have no effect on the outcome of the election no matter what. Mr. Polman admits as much but argues that it could be influential in Florida. I'll just mention that most political prognosticators have already decided that Mr. Obama can't play in Florida anyway.

For the record, I think a lot of Jewish people, myself included, are pretty fed up with the way the Israeli government treats Palestinians. That's pretty much what Rev. Wright said. I don't think there's anything anti-Semitic about being concerned for the human rights of Palestinians though I admit it will be spun as though he had just burned the entire DVD collection of Seinfeld on top of Hank Greenberg's grave.

So is this all just a wash on a Friday afternoon?


Anonymous said...

"I admit it will be spun as though he had just burned the entire DVD collection of Seinfeld on top of Hank Greenberg's grave."

They're just getting warmed up. Before long they really could be accusing him of just that.

E said...

They should go for it. I think they're only hanging themselves once they reach that point...

Puddinhead said...

Of course, the point isn't that voters who take offense at Wright's preachings likely weren't going to vote for Obama's that there was the real possibility that they were so unenthused about McCain that they wouldn't have been voting for ANYBODY. So if you can't give a bloc a reason to vote FOR your guy, you give them a reason to vote AGAINST the other guy.