Hitchens lowers the boom on Obama and Wright; Update: Obama's numbers inch down again

I’m still in the grip of Wright fatigue but better writers than I are not, so let me direct some traffic. Read Karl’s link-heavy response to the claim that Trinity — whose new pastor spent Easter comparing Jeremiah “America invented AIDS” Wright to the crucified Christ — isn’t a “crackpot church.” Note the data cited near the end. One of the keys to Obama’s strategy in getting himself off the hook is convincing whites that Wright’s beliefs, however regrettable they may be, are thoroughly mainstream in black America and therefore inescapable; why, walk into any black church and you’re bound to hear the same thing, which is why he can’t disown the good reverend without disowning the entire community. The numbers beg to differ, although naturally that won’t stop the media from trying to prop up his thesis with anecdotal evidence. Thus does the new great national conversation on race begin with a lie, smearing untold millions of blacks who don’t follow people like Wright in order to excuse a guy who did for 20 years.

That brings us to Hitch, whose views on which churches do and don’t qualify as “crackpot” are, as always, more nuanced. We fade in with Obama having just thrown grandma under the bus…

This flabbergasting process, made up of glibness and ruthlessness in equal proportions, rolls on unstoppably with a phalanx of reporters and men of the cloth as its accomplices. Look at the accepted choice of words for the ravings of Jeremiah Wright: controversial, incendiary, inflammatory. [“Fiery”? — ed.] These are adjectives that might have been—and were—applied to many eloquent speakers of the early civil rights movement. (In the Washington Post, for Good Friday last, the liberal Catholic apologist E.J. Dionne lamely attempted to stretch this very comparison.) But is it “inflammatory” to say that AIDS and drugs are wrecking the black community because the white power structure wishes it? No. Nor is it “controversial.” It is wicked and stupid and false to say such a thing. And it not unimportantly negates everything that Obama says he stands for by way of advocating dignity and responsibility over the sick cults of paranoia and victimhood…

I assume you all have your copies of The Audacity of Hope in paperback breviary form. If you turn to the chapter entitled “Faith,” beginning on Page 195, and read as far as Page 208, I think that even if you don’t concur with my reading, you may suspect that I am onto something. In these pages, Sen. Obama is telling us that he doesn’t really have any profound religious belief, but that in his early Chicago days he felt he needed to acquire some spiritual “street cred.” The most excruciatingly embarrassing endorsement of this same viewpoint came last week from Abigail Thernstrom at National Review Online. Overcome by “the speech” that the divine one had given in Philadelphia, she urged us to be understanding. “Obama’s description of the parishioners in his church gave white listeners a glimpse of a world of faith (with ‘raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor … dancing, clapping, screaming, and shouting’) that has been the primary means of black survival and uplift.” A glimpse, huh? What the hell next? A tribute to the African-American sense of rhythm?

To have accepted Obama’s smooth apologetics is to have lowered one’s own pre-existing standards for what might constitute a post-racial or a post-racist future. It is to have put that quite sober and realistic hope, meanwhile, into untrustworthy and unscrupulous hands. And it is to have done this, furthermore, in the service of blind faith. Mark my words: This disappointment is only the first of many that are still to come.

Follow the link for what Team Obama’s demagoguery of Geraldine Ferraro means for the new “post-racial” politics, and for thoughts on James Meeks, another friend of Barry, and Hagee and Rod Parsley, not quite spiritual gurus of 20 years standing for McCain (and yes, Rick Ellensburg, that is a relevant distinction) but deemed worthy of endorsement nonetheless.

Update: Only a one-point drop since Saturday but the Messiah’s favorable/unfavorable spread is now -6. Hillary’s, incidentally? -13.