It's too late for Barack Obama to distance himself from Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his pastor of 20 years, now that Wright's pattern of radicalism and rage from the pulpit has finally gained mainstream media attention. Politically, the damage is done for Barack, no matter what he says or does at this late hour. The only remaining questions are how aggressively Clinton and her allies will use the (literally) damning quotes against Obama, and -- if he still manages to get the nomination -- how aggressively McCain and his allies will use them in the fall. As more and more of the Wright stuff comes to light, one striking thing is how closely the pastor's blame-America rhetoric after 9/11 paralleled that of disgraced University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill. Remember that on September 12, 2001, Churchill published a scathing essay sympathizing with the World Trade Center attackers, entitled "On the Justice of Roosting Chickens." He started by citing Malcolm X's comment that President Kennedy's assassination was just a matter of chickens coming home to roost, and then said jauntily that "a few more chickens... came home to roost in a very big way" when the Twin Towers and Pentagon were attacked.
The Associated Press, coming very late to the current controversy over Jeremiah Wright, finally got around to quoting him this weekend (see Rocky Mountain News, March 15) as having said in a sermon on the Sunday after 9/11: "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," Wright said. "We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."
It matters not whether Wright's echo of Churchill was witting or unwitting. Subconsciously at least, the two were both using the Malcolm X talking points in a defiant fashion directly contrary to mainstream American opinion and feeling at a time of national crisis.
Does the Democratic Party really want its 2008 nominee lugging the heavy, hateful baggage of Malcolm X, Ward Churchill, and Jeremiah Wright? And if Dems decide that's okay, how will voters in the home of the brave feel about entrusting the presidency to a man who keeps such disreputable intellectual company?
Note: Ronald Kessler in yesterday's Wall Street Journal had more on Obama and the minister, none of it pretty.