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The Wright Stuff?

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"In this column, I cite a report that Sen. Obama had attended services at Trinity Church on July 22, 2007. The Obama campaign has provided information showing that Senator Obama did not attend Trinity that day. I regret the error."

Paul Burka, senior executive editor of Texas Monthly, argues that the damage to Obama from Wright's words is irreparable:

"A candidate for president of the United States cannot cozy up to someone with this kind of anti-American rhetoric. He has lost Main Street white America. Is anyone going to believe that he didn't know about Wright's views? Is anyone going to accept as an explanation that he wasn't in attendance when these things were said? He'll get clobbered in Pennsylvania, clobbered in Indiana, clobbered in Kentucky.

"This isn't about white racism. It's about Wright racism.

"I thought that Obama was exempt from racial reactions because he was the Tiger Woods of politics. People looked at him and saw him not as someone who is black, but as someone who transcended race because of his unique skills and accomplishments. Not any more. He just triple bogeyed the presidency. He's done."

Andrew Sullivan challenges Burka's argument:

"I think that the kind of politics that ensures that someone's pastor's rhetoric trumps every other issue in a campaign is waning. Because many Americans understand that the country's problems are really too deep for this kind of thing to be dispositive. Because Obama's long record is transparently not in any way equatable with Jeremiah Wright's worst moments on YouTube."

At the New Republic, Michael Crowley finds a broader reason to be depressed:

"I do worry that this lays bare a very grim truth: That even middle-class black American culture is more angry and alienated than most whites understand, and that our country is simply not yet at the point where even an ostensibly post-racial black candidate can escape that dynamic entirely. (Indeed not only was Wright perfectly acceptable to Obama and his Chicago circle, but it seems likely that it would have been difficult for Obama to separate himself from the preacher had he wanted to, lest he be accused of not being an 'authentic' member of the south side black community.)

"In other words, what's happening here is far bigger than the particulars of Obama and Wright, it's about cultural dissonance that was going to bubble up one way or another. And as a colleague put it to me, in terms I hope are too pessimistic: 'It makes me think it's going to be at least another generation before we see a black man elected president.' If Obama can prove him wrong then he really may be a world-historical figure."

How's this for a twist?

"Leading opponents of affirmative action are increasingly seizing on Illinois Senator Barack Obama's historic run for the presidency as proof that race-based remedies for past discrimination are no longer necessary," says the Boston Globe.


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