So as most of you know, there’s a flap now regarding incendiary comments made by Obama’s pastor, Rev. Wright. Obama has condemned the remarks but not the man. I’m quite satisfied with that response.
To get a bit more detailed my take is that Rev. Wright has made some comments that can accurately be described as anti-American. That said, I don’t think the "Chickens coming home to roost" comment qualifies as slander, it’s just a fairly hurtful thing to say shortly after 9/11. However, Wright’s undermined his credibility some by citing conspiracy theories on other occasions. I think his comments on Sen. Clinton (well, more directly about Bill Clinton) were not necessarily sexist but were vulgar and inappropriate.
In short, I think given Obama’s close relationship it’s appropriate that the Senator condemned the remarks and formally distanced himself. That said, I think it’s also appropriate that Obama didn’t condemn the man who has done other good works. While Rev. Wright is definitely fairly critical of America it appears that crossing the line was the exception rather than his standard sermon. Similarly, unlike say Louis Farrakkan or Ward Churchill I don’t think any of the Wright’s statements I’ve read sink to the level of bigotry.
Ross Douthat argues that Obama’s taking criticism mainly because Wright’s comments are not just controversial but outside of the mainstream American conversation. I’d say the mainstream American conversation has definite double standards, but at the same time I’m happy to criticize conservatives when they say things I disagree with that are out of the mainstream. That said, I think it’s ridiculous to say that remarks Obama has condemned reflect negatively on his character.
Sullivan notes that Obama plans to give a major speech tomorrow on race issues in the campaign. I’d say what he’s already said is fine, but it’s probably politically wise to go for the full speech.