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And That’s What We Call a Circus

(Credit: Politirazzi)


By Meg

I can’t believe the Reverend Wright scandal is still headline news.

Ridiculous as I found the comments that surfaced last month to be — and ridiculous is the operative word here, as the reverend’s relentlessly dissected speeches on AIDS and 9/11 are so deeply rooted in fiction that they can barely be categorized as opinion — I never felt that they should be held against Obama as a person or as a candidate.

Of course, I am admittedly sympathetic to Obama on this issue; as a Catholic, I am made a witness to the absurd almost every Sunday. Case in point: At a Mass I attended shortly after Hurricane Katrina, the celebrant compared the devastation in New Orleans to the Great Flood of the Old Testament and speculated that God sent such destruction because He was angry at the U.S. for keeping abortion legal. Was I deeply and profoundly offended? Of course. Did I go back to church the next week? For better or for worse, I did.

Because the statements made were, for me, a non-issue (in that it did not change my opinion of Obama as a viable candidate), I was pleased to see the media begin to quiet the Wright chatter. It gave me hope that we could go back to talking about the important issues of this election; you know, trivial things such as health care and the war in Iraq.

So I was a special kind of horrified when I saw Wright’s press conference on Monday. I was welcoming a new co-worker in the lobby of my office when my eye caught the television and the live video of the Reverend gesticulating wildly above a caption that read “Wright: Louis Farrakhan one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st centuries.” I immediately stopped, mid-sentence (I’m awesome at my job), to watch the train wreck unfold.

(continued) Did it ever. I think I started to glaze over somewhere between Wright’s assertion that criticism of his opinion amounted to an assault on black churches and his challenging Dick Cheney to a Duel of Honor. The actual nausea kicked in, though, when Wright started acting out the supposed difference between black rhythm and white rhythm, and not just because high school marching bands freak me out (Fifty uniformed kids marching in perfect formation to the beat of drums and a whistle. Tell me how that’s not unnerving.).

No, it was because that was the point that I realized this guy was enjoying the spotlight entirely too much. He wasn’t a passionate man guilty of occasional crazy-talk; he was actually acting crazy. It wasn’t going to be enough for Obama to shrug and say that Wright’s views did not mirror his own. Wright had officially turned Obama’s campaign into a spectacle, and Obama needed to shut him down, which meant another speech and countless more hours of analysis. Ouch.

Obama did the right thing by cutting ties and hiding the tape. I would like to think that Obama read the comment I made on this during the Politirazzi live-blog of the Philly debate (yes, I did just link to myself) but, um, I don’t think he’s an avid follower. And he does seem to have quieted Reverend Wright for good (here’s hoping). The problem, though, is this: As Chris Matthews said, if the media is still talking about this on Thursday, they will talk about it on Sunday, which means they’ll keep talking about it in the ramp up to Tuesday’s primaries.

It’s Thursday, and the media is still talking about it. I have an uneasy feeling that this will not bode well for Obama, but I’ll stop short of actually prognosticating about the primary results. That’s what the weekend is for.

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