It's impolitic to talk about religion at the water cooler. But that was before the Rev. Jeremiah Wright appeared in an endless loop on Americans’ TV screens and computer monitors.
He would not have been my pastor. You don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend.
Clinton noted her denunciation of Don Imus’ racially offensive comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team:
You know, I spoke out against Don Imus, saying that hate speech was unacceptable in any setting, and I believe that. I just think you have to speak out against that. You certainly have to do that, if not explicitly, then implicitly by getting up and moving.
The Obama camp fired back. In a statement, campaign spokesman Bill Burton said:
After originally refusing to play politics with this issue, it’s disappointing to see Hillary Clinton’s campaign sink to this low in a transparent effort to distract attention away from the story she made up about dodging sniper fire in Bosnia. The truth is, Barack Obama has already spoken out against his pastor’s offensive comments and addressed the issue of race in America with a deeply personal and uncommonly honest speech. The American people deserve better than tired political games that do nothing to solve the larger challenges facing this country.
What is it that I and others expected Obama to do? A great leader with conscience and courage would have stood up and faced down anyone who engages in such conduct. I expect a President of the United States to have the strength of character to denounce and disown enemies of America - foreign and domestic -- and yes, even his friends and confidants when they get seriously out of line.
What if a minister in a church attended primarily by white congregants or a rabbi in a synagogue attended primarily by Jews made comparable statements that were hostile to African-Americans? I have no doubt that the congregants would have immediately stood up and openly denounced the offending cleric. Others would have criticized that cleric in private. Some would surely have ended their relationships with their congregation. Obama didn't do any of these things. His recent condemnations of Wright's hate-filled speech are, in my opinion, a case of too little, too late.
Like it or not, Wright will remain a drag on Obama’s candidacy.