By Brigitte L. Nacos
I have no intention to repeat here the most inflammatory, unpatriotic and, yes, racist statements that the Reverend Jeremiah Wright made during his sermons as pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. By now, the most provocative passages have been heard and seen in the mainstream media and in the blogosphere—not because of the Reverend Wright but because of presidential candidate Barack Obama who has been a member of this church for more than 20 years. Obama has called the recently retired pastor his spiritual mentor. The title of Obama’s bestseller “The Audacity of Hope” was taken from one of Wright’s sermons. And up to last week’s furor over Wright’s divisive sermons, the pastor was a member of the Obama campaign’s “African American Religious Leadership Committee.” Claiming now that he was unaware of his pastor’s shocking statements, as the Senator has, is disingenuous, if not outright dishonest.
By denouncing the pastor’s troubling statements after the latest revelations, Senator Obama cannot erase the incendiary sermon tapes or the controversy they have sparked. These tapes will be part and parcel of the Republican Party’s, the McCain for president campaign’s, and their supporters’ most damaging ammunition against Obama, if the Senator becomes the nominee of the Democratic Party. That’s politics. If the Democrats had tapes of equally controversial content by Senator McCain’s spiritual mentor and member of his campaign, they, too, would use them as weapons in their quest for the White House.
Rightly or wrongly, the outcome of a possible McCain-Obama race in autumn may be determined in large part by the outfall from the tape controversy. As it stands, McCain runs about neck-to-neck with both potential Democratic candidates in some of the latest polls. Obviously, some voters are turned off by the intra-party hostilities on the side of the Democrats. And if Independents and some Democrats as well are so offended by the statements made by Senator Obama’s longtime pastor that they cannot cast their vote for the Democratic candidate, John McCain will have an easy ride into the White House.
Assuming that the Clinton-Obama competition will not be
decided before the nominating convention and assuming furthermore that the race will be
very close, the burden will be on the super-delegates to determine what
candidate has the best chance to beat McCain. In politics, a few weeks and a
few months are an eternity. Nobody knows whether there are more shocks and
surprises in stock for either of the candidates and parties. But given the
latest developments, super delegates are best advised to take a wait-and-see
Whatever Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others tell us about
the role of super-candidates, in the end these party officials must make their