Obama, whose public relationship with Wright has gone from his being Obama's close spiritual advisor and friend to his "former pastor" to today when we see that Obama thinks that,
"...based on his remarks yesterday, well, I may not know him as well as I thought either."
Wright's interviews and speeches have provided endless fodder for news outlets of every variety. And many of them are making points that have to hurt.
Rich Lowery writes about how Obama's credibility has been damaged, pointing out the following:
In a slippery dance, Obama maintains that he was thoroughly shocked by Wright’s original radioactive statements and hadn’t heard him say such things, although he did hear other (always carefully unspecified) “controversial” things. The threat to Obama as the paladin of the “new politics” is that, as he dodges and distances on Wright, people will come to agree with his former pastor’s newly dismissive evaluation: “He says what he has to say as a politician.”
Victor David Hanson highlights the damage Wright has done to Blacks:
In short, Wright's speech on black-right brainers, white-left brainers — replete with bogus stereotypes and crude voice imitations — was about as racist as they come and at one time antithetical to what the NAACP was once all about. Again, the Obama campaign and its appendages have set back racial relations a generation. Just ten years ago, any candidate, black or white, would have rejected Wright making a speech about genetic differences in respective black and white brains. Now it's given to civil rights organizations by the possible next President's pastor and spiritual advisor — and done to wild applause for an organization founded on the idea that we are innately the same, while being gushed over by ignorant "commentators."
Those on the Left are keenly aware of the damage done, as well. E.J. Dionne observes,
Then something happened. Specifically, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. And he keeps happening, holding tightly to a spotlight that was turned his way by a certain politician whom the preacher dismisses for being a politician. First came his Friday appearance on public television with Bill Moyers, then his NAACP address in Detroit on Sunday, and his National Press Club speech yesterday.
Obama, once seen as a prophet, is now merely a human being capable of performing indifferently in debate and of making statements about bitter voters that made some voters bitter.
Frank Schaeffer at the HuffPo shows a bit of desperation, basically just trying to will the damage away by writing the following Pollyanna-ish drivel,
Now it's time for all concerned to take a deep breath and admit that religion in politics is nothing more than a sideshow. It's time to move on. And that goes for Republicans, and Clinton supporters, as well as for Obama supporters.
Here's the one thing we should all be able to agree on: when religion jumps the track and crashes into places it doesn't belong we'd all be better off ignoring the silliness.
But the fact that real damage has in fact been done can be seen by the fact that Rush Limbaugh today officially suspended Operation Chaos:
RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, I am calling an operational pause in Operation Chaos. We have a week to figure out now what's best to do. If your state still allows voter registration, keep that up, continue to register as a Democrat in upcoming Operation Chaos primaries. I think it's too late in Indiana and North Carolina. Oregon, last day is today. There are other states coming down the pike, and Puerto Rico. But I'm calling an operational pause, and I will tell you why. My first gut reaction, my instinct, in listening to the audio sound bites of Obama today throwing Jeremiah Wright off the planet, he didn't throw him under the bus, he put him in the space shuttle and he sent him to the space station so he can pal around with the Russians that are up there. Then I watched during the bottom-of-the-hour break here, I decided to watch the Drive-By Media coverage of this, because it became obvious to me -- see, I read the stitches on the fastball; I can read between the lines, and I know that most of the Drive-Bys are in the tank for Obama.
What I think I saw an indication of, I watched Chris Matthews and Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington, discussing this, and Matthews was full of praise, and he accepted every theme Obama brought up, and he said Obama was dead right. "Why do we have to have this preacher inserting himself in the presidential campaign for the last three days? Obama rightly said he's not talking to him any more, may talk to him later, but Obama was dead right on, on this." Matthews is missing the whole point. Obama coulda done this in church the first time he heard the guy. We all now with common sense realize here that Obama did this out of political expediency today to save a dwindling and plunging campaign. The Drive-Bys, by the time those in the tank for Obama get through spinning this tonight, this is what I need to wait for, ladies and gentlemen, is why I've called an operational pause, because I want to find out what we need to do tomorrow based on how effective the Drive-Bys are in spinning what Obama said today and make it look like it was courageous. You watch, "It was courageous. This is one of the greatest risks a politician's ever taken in the United States! This was a risk we have never seen taken before. This is a man with courage and guts and fortitude. This is a man we want to be our president." This is the kind of thing I'm expecting tonight from the Drive-Bys.
My gut reaction, after the audio sound bites, was to issue new orders, because I saw, you know, AP/Ipsos poll has Hillary up over McCain by nine points, 50-41. My gut reaction here, after hearing Obama, was to issue orders changing directives, i.e., vote Obama in remaining primaries. But I'm holding back. That's why I'm calling an operational pause. Because I want to see what the Drive-Bys are going to do and I want to see how the superdelegates are affected by this. You can't vote in North Carolina and Indiana 'til Tuesday anyway, so there's really no pause. It's not as though the election is tomorrow. I just wanted you to know your commanding officers are eagerly, diligently, and effectively planning the next strategy here, based on this speech and the reaction to it
There is something almost Shakespearean in this situation as, while Obama has been trying to fend off the blows of his enemies, this possible fatal blow has been struck by a friend.