Not to get back to an old argument with David, but I think National Journal writer Stuart Taylor — who’s nearly endorsed Senator Obama — has a good point here:
And he still has not adequately explained why he didn’t walk away from Wright, or challenge his anti-American tirades, a long time ago. Yes, as Obama has said, Wright has redeeming qualities, including his programs for the needy, homeless, and sick. And yes, the minister’s fiery sound bites are a bit less stark — though still surpassingly ugly — when seen in full context.
But it also appears that Obama shares the unfortunate tendency of many liberals to see far-left extremists (and of many conservatives to see far-right extremists) as kindred spirits. And there may be some resonance between Wright’s angry vitriol and Michelle Obama’s bleak vision of America.
Most important, perhaps, Obama’s assertion that “I can no more disown [Wright] than I can disown the black community,” together with his acknowledgment of “shocking ignorance” among many blacks, implies what other Wright apologists have said more directly: White-bashing, far-left rhetoric, and paranoid racial conspiracy theories are commonplace in many black churches and among many otherwise sensible black people.
Obama won’t disown these people, because that would be inconsistent with his lifelong quest to belong to the black community, movingly detailed in his 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father. And because he needs their votes.
All of this is understandable. But would the same Obama who lacked the fortitude to break with Jeremiah Wright be a good bet, if elected, to take on his party’s own special interests? To break, when circumstances warrant, with the across-the-board liberal orthodoxy he has long embraced? Curb entitlement spending? Temper excessive affirmative-action preferences? Tame the lawsuit lobby? Assign the teachers unions their share of the blame for what Obama calls “crumbling schools that are stealing the future”?
Could he get tough, when necessary, with fashionably leftist foreign dictators, highly politicized international institutions, and sanctimonious European America-bashers? Or would he instead heed such soothing platitudes as his wife’s February 14 assertion that “instead of protecting ourselves against terrorists,” we should be “building diplomatic relationships”?
I have a hard time believing at this point that Obama is up to these tasks.