I held my breath as I watched Barack Obama eat a waffle on TV last week. It was from one of Jeannie Most’s always amusing video essays on CNN, this one about the left-over waffle and sausage from Obama’s breakfast in a Pennsylvania coffee-shop photo-op being offered on eBay (final bid: $10,000 before the diner’s owner put a stop to it).
Obama was sitting there peacefully, with an entire bank of reporters and cameras trained on his every move. He cut the waffle and turned his fork upside-down to pick it up. No, I thought. Don’t do it, man! Thankfully, he turned the fork around and took the food in his mouth like an American man, with the prongs pointing up; not down like some effete European wannabe. Thus did we escape a week of discussion on issue-starved cable TV about how Obama hangs around with elitists, talks like an elitist, eats like an elitist...
The Obama Destruction project being conducted by the right-wingers continues, with the full cooperation of the easily-manipulated nervous-nellies of the mainstream media, who think they have to take this nonsense seriously or they’ll be called "liberal". The result is that even faithful Obama-inclined Democrats are wondering whether Hillary Clinton has a point about his electability in light of the right-wing’s all-too-successful attempts to define him in a negative light before he gets a chance to define himself. We may end up thanking the wing-nuts for letting their various cats out of their bag before Obama had the nomination completely in his, but they just couldn’t help their hot-headed selves. They used to be so much better disciplined.
If Obama’s innocent friendship with former, unrepentant ‘60s radicals who happen to live in his neighborhood is not enough for you, there is still plenty of Jeremiah Wright to go around. Those keeping the video and audio of Rev. Wright shouting "god damn America" from his former pulpit running on a permanent loop now have lots more grist for the mill. The reverend spent most of the past several days providing fresh quotes and antics for those who like to feign outrage about such things, especially when they are trying to generate irrelevant distractions to destroy a candidate who would otherwise clean their candidate’s proverbial clock (and still might).
It wouldn’t take more than an hour of internet research to find all kinds of offensive, reactionary right-wing preachers supporting McCain specifically or Republicans generally spouting offensive nonsense. What’s the difference between the pathetic Falwell and Robertson blaming 9/11 on feminists and gays and Wright saying "the chickens were coming home to roost"? But the Gotcha Preacher game doesn’t work both ways – since Bakker and Swagert, etc., we expect right-wing preachers to say idiotic things while they root around in their parishioners’ pockets. As always, left-leaning churches are held to a higher standard, if only because they are rightly taken more seriously.
"For we have a choice in this country," said Barack Obama’s towards the end his terrific speech on the issue of race back on March 18th. "We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism...We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can do that. But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change. That is one option...Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, ‘Not this time.’"
Yeah, right. Obama is more hopeful than naive; hoping rather than expecting things to change. With Rev. Wright being very much his unapologetic self on his own personal campaign trail, Obama is stuck with the media narrative that could lead to Wright being perceived as his personal doppelganger. Since mainstream radio and Fox "News" will continue to whore for the GOP, granting unearned legitimacy to all sorts of ridiculous notions, Obama needs to find a solution, and fast.
And then, he needs to get ready for the next personal attack, because these people just don’t quit.