Was there ever any doubt that liberal journalists and media outlets would swoon over whatever Barack Obama would say in response to the controversy concerning his relationship with his longtime pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright? Liberals just have too much invested in the storyline of a post-racial, biracial healer whose mission it is to set our house in order after the unspeakable depredations of the George W. Bush years.
The fact that there even was an Obama/Wright controversy owed less to the supposedly vigilant mainstream news media than to the doggedness of conservative bloggers, websites and Fox News. Stories of Wright’s racist, anti-American worldview had been circulating for at least a year, but it was only when videos showing Wright in all his vicious glory began to surface all over the Internet that even the most faithful media Obamaniac had to acknowledge the Illinois messiah might have some serious explaining to do.
Obama had barely finished delivering his much anticipated March 18 address on race before the tearful encomiums began coming. Hearts racing, pundits and editorial writers competed with each other in the prostration sweepstakes.
“Profile in courage,” gushed The New York Times. “Clear, nuanced and brilliantly honest,” trilled journalism professor James Klurfeld in Newsday. “An extraordinary moment of truth-telling,” gasped the Washington Post. “One of the most impressive presidential candidates in years….We have been asked to reflect in the most serious ways about the role that race plays in the life of our country,” cheered political science professor Alan Wolfe in The New Republic.
“Perhaps the most thoughtful and sophisticated oration on race ever delivered by an American politician,” marveled New York Observer reporter Steve Kornacki. “This searing, nuanced, gut-wrenching, loyal, and deeply, deeply Christian speech is the most honest speech on race in America in my adult lifetime,” sobbed Andrew Sullivan, the high profile blogger and magazine writer long besotted with Obama.
Lost in all the sticky-sweet commentary coming from the precincts of the liberal-left was the stark fact that Obama only gave the speech because his previous equivocations and outright lies would wash no more, and that the address raised almost as many questions about his relationship with Wright as it purported to answer.
Obama’s ability to deliver a sweet speech was never in doubt. His judgment and honesty were, and on those counts he hardly acquitted himself with honor. Conservatives were, predictably, considerably less taken with Obama’s Big Speech.
“Were my rabbi to gloat that America got its just desserts on 9/11,” wrote the Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby, “or to claim that the U.S. government invented AIDS as an instrument of genocide, or to urge his congregants to sing ‘God Damn America’ instead of ‘God Bless America,’ I would know about it straightaway, even if I hadn’t been in the sanctuary when he spoke. The news would spread rapidly throughout the congregation, and in short order one of two things would happen: Either the rabbi would be gone, or I and scores of others would walk out, unwilling to remain in a house of worship that tolerated such poisonous teachings. I have no doubt that this would be true for millions of worshipers in countless houses of worship nationwide.”
Wrote radio host and columnist Michael Medved: “In his speech, Obama suggests that his fellow citizens recoiled against Reverend Wright only because they failed to understand that his bitter rage stemmed from centuries of oppression and injustice. ‘The fact that so many people [said Obama] are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning.’
“Does Obama decry, or encourage that segregation? If he condemns it, then why would he maintain a long-term commitment to a purposefully segregated, race-based congregation that elevates a mystical sense of ‘blackness’ above Christianity, Americanism or common humanity?”
In his weekly New York Times column, William Kristol suggested that, contrary to the call by liberals for more talk on race, the country would do better to take a break from what in actuality has been a decades-long national obsession with the subject.
Kristol hit on something articulated by few (if any) other commentators. It’s not that we haven’t had a discussion on race in recent years – sometimes it seems like we can’t think or talk of anything else – it’s that the conversation has been so relentlessly one-sided, with liberal, politically correct pieties elevated to received wisdom while blacks (Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Clarence Thomas) who refuse to toe the NAACP-approved line are marginalized or worse.