MM’s point about Obama adopting a cretin as his “spiritual guru” is well taken, but as loathsome as the good reverend is, I’m actually on Powers’s side on this one. The guilt-by-association game has gotten tiresome, with Josh Marshall’s attempt to hold McCain responsible for every objectionable word uttered by a conservative being the most imbecilic example. We all play it, me included, but I used to play the “every borderline joke by a liberal is a screaming outrage” game too and that’s also grown tedious. If Obama cut ties with Wright now, would you think any more or less of the sincerity of his objections to Wright’s demagoguery? Maybe he secretly has no problem with it or maybe he genuinely disagrees with it but puts up with it because Wright has compensating qualities which atone for his, um, blaming the U.S. for 9/11. Either way, your answer to the question depends on your assessment of Obama’s character and the die on that has already been cast. Same with McCain and Hagee. I don’t think Maverick hates Catholics so I don’t particularly care that he’s accepted Hagee’s endorsement, as long as he offers the pro forma stipulation that he disagrees with the Catholic stuff. These are all data points in the vote-weighing metric; the only data that comes from a politically expedient, ceremonial severing of the ties is that the candidate’s willing to do something politically expedient.
As for the first question asked here, whether Hillary’s been railroaded on some of the charges of racism against her or whether she’s pandering by apologizing now: yes.
Update: Another helpful reminder from Karl that Josh Marshall is an utter, abject hypocrite on this subject.
Update: Here’s the counterargument. Obama’s membership in Wright’s church differs from McCain accepting Hagee’s endorsement in the same way that belonging to a racist country club for 20 years differs from accepting, say, a “man of the year” award from the same club. Both suggest a certain comfort level with immoral beliefs, but one suggests a lot more comfort than the other. The guy who accepts the award might be a racist, or he might plausibly be an opportunist who simply wanted the award and was willing to cringe and shake a slimy hand to get it. What’s the excuse of the guy who’s a member? That is to say, there is guilt by association, but one is an association of expedience and one is an association of belief. Which is worse?