There is still something about this Jeremiah Wright thing that just isn’t, well, right. Despite his declaration of unilateral divorce from his former pastor for the sin of impolitic self-aggrandizing (grounds for separation in at least 35 states), Barack Obama is still being tied to the yoke of the inconveniently silly man in the right-wing media. "Too little, too late," they shout in unison, hoping to soak the last drop of sweat and blood from Obama’s brow.
The whole Wright episode is such a ridiculous distraction; one of those things that seem to happen every week in this campaign that no one would buy as realistic in a political novel. It started – as too many of these things do – with a nut-right talking point that blossomed into a full-blown "issue" when ABC News legitimized the "concerns" about Wright when it ran the now-infamous video of Wright yelling "god damn America" in god-knows-what context. This led to Obama’s exquisite speech about race on March 18th. Obama was in the process of (maybe) riding it out before Wright hit the redemption media circuit over the weekend (Barbara Walters must not have been interested -- Bill Moyers gets the "get"?), committing the sin of being himself and making it impossible for Obama to survive without a clean break. And so he did, but such a break would never be clean enough for the unclean right-wing, who are not about to let the still-likely Democratic nominee off the hook if they can help it.
All of this has been unfair to Obama. Everyone running for president has some clown they would rather not have hanging around in their past, their present or their future. If you can’t see them, it is because either the candidate is too boring (Chris Dodd comes to mind) or they keep their embarrassments well hidden inside corporate cocoons or loopy mega-churches where anyone trying to do oppo-research would be bored to tears, their original curiosity drowned in a sea of piety and self-pity. So, the right-wing echo machine – with the cowardly acquiescence of the MSM – has managed to make Wright and "issue" for Obama and Bill (who, despite the hysterical exaggerations about what he has said or meant, is just fine) an "issue" for Hillary Clinton. Who or what is (or should be) the albatross(es?) around the GOP’s neck?
First of all, forget about looking under the pews at whatever Baptist or Episcopal church John McCain attends every month or so when the cameras are rolling. The chance of finding anything of substance, much less interesting at a church in wherever Arizona McCain claims as his home turf is slim to none (but, believe it or not, somebody tried). McCain’s nut-bag religious baggage rests not in his personal church, but in the usual collection of pathetic, attention-seeking GOP hangers-on, like proud endorser John Hagee, who, among other things, calls the Catholic church "the great whore". Oh, what the hell. Who cares about these religious groups calling each other names? At least he didn’t call them a "bad whore". Now, that’s an insult in the religious world. No – although right-wing preachers say all the time that America is already "damned" for its hedonistic sins and Wright just suggested, perhaps, it should be "damned" for something or other, there is no point in trying to parse these differences and insist on equal treatment for the religious nuts on either side. That ship, unfortunately, has sailed.
But we all know there are people closely tied to the Republicans in general and John McCain in particular that say worse things than Jeremiah Wright ever thought. It is past time for a media frenzy to call on the Republicans denounce and disassociate themselves from their hotheaded good friends...on mainstream talk-radio.
Go through any list of the outrageous statements made through the years by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or any of the other ubiquitous national wing-nuts who have done the GOP’s dirty work since the Fairness Doctrine was eliminated by Reagan 20 years ago. John McCain has appeared on all of these shows many times and will benefit throughout the election period for their support, however grudging. When will he be called on to denounce and disassociate himself with their various outrageous statements through the years?
This also works locally. Pardon the disgusting imagery, but Scott Walker has crawled so far up Charlie Sykes’ ass he has actually gotten a paler shade of white over the past several years. Does he agree with Sykes that Al Sharpton is a pimp? Does he agree with his other radio whore, Mark Belling, that Latinos are "wetbacks"? Do all the local Republicans – pretty-boy Paul Ryan, the repulsive Jim Sensenbrenner, the grandstanding David Clarke – who have an open invitation to appear on all the major and minor local wing-nut shows any time they want to really subscribe to the extreme and laughable positions of the various hosts? If not, what are they doing granting legitimacy to the hosts and their nut-right views?
Somehow, I don’t think this is an idea that is likely to get any traction. But, if the pretended outrage over Wright’s comments will continue to haunt Obama’s campaign, it is only fair that the Republican nominee be held to the same standard – hoisted on the petard of the comments of his most ridiculous supporters. The only problem is that, when it comes to the many ridiculous supporters of Republicans, it’s hard to know where to start.