Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Guilt by lazy association

First off, what country is this? While we can agree that calls for violence and the stoking of religious/ethnic hatred is beyond the pale (um right?), the dialogue in a free society should otherwise be pretty... free. And it should be remembered that tinfoil hat paranoia has been vindicated at least a few times. So if you're offended by someone running down America, try proving them wrong before setting up the stockades.

That said, I think Barack Obama's response
to the reemergence of Jeremiah Wright has been a good one, as presidential candidacies go. He hasn't hidden the personal element in the crackup between the two of them. Whether the things that Wright says are arguable, the effect of his saying them when where and how he has is to sandbag Obama. At best, he doesn't care about his former congregants future or hopes. At worst, it's active sabotage. Obama's anger at that strikes me as very human, and a lot of voters should be able to identify with it. Most of us have friends and relations who could hurt us or hold us back through lack of discretion, and how would you feel if it happened to you?

So I think he's handling it the right way, assuming there's a right way to handle it. There might not be. The media tends to take a "we made you, we can break you" attitude toward would-be political saviors, and that seems to be the implicit line now. With even The National Enquirer taking swings at the jug-eared brown piñata, it's been some time since I heard anything good about Obama outside of a handful of liberal blogs. We may not hear anything good about him again until eleventh hour nominee Hillary Clinton loses to McCain.

I can live with this. In most respects I was more invested in the Dean campaign back in '04, and you remember how that turned out. But you have to wonder. For about twenty years now (since the Monkey Business fallout), national campaigns have been dominated by character issues and questions that go to judgment. As a result we have a president of sterling character and impeccable judgment. I mean, we do, right?

No comments: