It was only a matter of time before Barack Obama would have to weigh in on the controversy surrounding the sermons of his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose rhetorical flair sometimes verged on the incendiary.
While it is in the interests of Obama’s political survival to “vehemently disagree” with and “strongly condemn” the words of a man who clearly influenced and inspired him, it is at least a little sad that some of what Wright had to say was ever considered controversial in the first place.
Take, for instance, Wright’s assertion that the heinous attacks of 9/11 were an example of America’s chickens coming home to roost. Blowback, in other words. It’s a concept familiar to many commentators, columnists, analysts and others who’ve made the same argument, although perhaps more delicately, in the years since 2001. What else does it mean when the Democratic candidates—both of them—say we are fanning the flames of terrorism in Iraq?
Still, it simply does not do to have a prominent supporter use the phrase “God damn America.” And though we might agree with Clinton supporter James Carville that the whole phenomenon of surrogate sacking has gotten a bit out of hand, the politics at work here isn’t all that surprising.