In case there was any residual doubt as to the current status of the relationship between the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama, New York Magazine should dispel that once and for all with the news, somewhat buried in this week’s cover story on race and the presidential election, that Wright will embark on a book tour in October.
New York Magazine:
What will happen after that is a matter for prognosticators with a clearer crystal ball than mine. The reigning cliché of this election year—that we are in uncharted waters here, without either map or compass—has never been more apt than when it comes to the question of race. In October, Obama’s former pastor, Wright, will publish a new book and hit the road to promote it, an occasion that might well place the topic of Obama’s blackness (along with his patriotism and his candor about what he heard in the pews in all those years at Trinity Church) squarely at the center of the national debate. How Obama handles that moment may determine whether he becomes the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
For many Democrats, Obama’s eventual residence there has long seemed a foregone conclusion. But cast your mind forward twenty years and imagine looking back on this election. Would it really seem strange from that vantage point if the first black major-party nominee—a guy with a thin résumé, no foreign-policy credentials in an era scarred by terrorism, a background alien to much of Wonder Bread America, and the full name Barack Hussein Obama—lost? No, it would seem inevitable. That Obama has convinced us that the opposite outcome is even possible is testament to his many gifts. The next three months will show whether they include a talent that would serve him very well in the Oval Office: the ability to conduct a necessary, indeed vital, conversation that no one really wants to have.