What, am I the only one who now deems Jeremiah Wright’s every TV appearance to be must-see TV? Of course, George Will disapproves, but that’s what we pay him for. The gleeful demagogue’s appearance at the Washington National Press Club yesterday (official motto: “Unlike Canada’s National Press Club, we haven’t run ours into the ground”) was so full of spirit, rhetorical style, mischief and purpose it was riveting. (This isn’t that speech, but it’ll give you a taste of the man’s style, plus it gets extra bonus Detroit points.) (Ah. Here we are, with a chunk of the Washington speech.) Of course some of what he says makes your jaw drop, and of course any given sentence directly contradicts its neighbour, but if that was enough to disqualify a man from public service then Pierre Poilièvre and Peter Van Loan would be out of work.
And while nothing could be more tedious than to debate a preacher’s sermons clause by clause, I’m not at all sure even Wright’s more outrageous comments are without an electoral market in the U.S. Which doesn’t mean he’s not a problem for Barack Obama. In conjunction with a lot of other recent events, the pastor has pushed Obama from centrist appeal to lefter-leaning appeal. That’s a lot worse than it sounds: Obama’s selling point was that he was supposed to be post-racial, post-partisan and able to appeal to Independents and even Republicans. If you looked at the polls, you’d almost swear those days were ending.