My friend Pam at Atlas Shrugged got this video over the weekend of Rep. Jerrold Nadler telling Floridians what has been blindingly obvious all along. It shows both why the Jeremiah Wright string would not resonate and why it actually does have some real value in assessing Barack Obama. Nadler tries to explain why Obama couldn’t simply leave Trinity United, and Obama comes off looking like a cold, calculating, manipulative pol:
Obama didn’t have the political courage to make a statement and walk out.
That’s been the reason that most people have shrugged off the Wright Stuff, which John McCain left on the cutting-room floor in this election. Most people have reached the same conclusion that Nadler gives his New York constituents. Obama joined Trinity for political connections and got them, as well as the power base of 8,000 members in the South Side. When Obama’s aspirations moved from Chicago to Washington, he had no trouble dumping Wright and TUCC.
Except that doesn’t quite square with reality. Obama remained close to Wright until this year. He gave $26,000 to TUCC in 2006, well after Obama won his seat in the US Senate. Until Wright accused him of exactly the kind of political opportinism that Nadler suggests, Obama planned to stick with his demagoguic minister while attempting to explain him away as the product of a bygone generation. He gave a nationally-watched speech on race and refused to repudiate Wright until Wright made his lunacy too explicit just weeks later.
Either way, it doesn’t reflect well on Obama. Either he’s a political opportunist who uses faith as a tool to win votes, or he’s a true believer in Wright’s message who got offended at Wright’s attack on him and dumped him only for that reason. I’d call it a combination of the two.
Update: This apparently took place in Florida, and I misspelled Nadler’s first name.