When I said on CNN recently that concerns about the Wright-Obama issue were "appropriate" to continue to be discussed, my friend Joe Klein of Time Magazine said, "Lanny, Lanny, you're spreading the poison right now" and that an "honorable person" would "stay away from this stuff."
Attacking the motives of those who feel this discomfort about Senator Obama's response or nonresponse to Reverend Wright's comments is not just unfair and wrong. It also misses the important electoral point about winning the general election in November: This issue is not going away. If many loyal, progressive Democrats remain troubled by this issue, then there must be even more unease among key swing voters – soft "Reagan Democrats," independents and moderate Republicans – who will decide the 2008 election.
Bevan's analysis is spot on:
Could Joe Klein provide any better example of the liberal elitist mindset and how disconnected it is from the real world? Rev. Wright is on tape spewing some pretty vile anti-American stuff from the pulpit, yet Klein accuses Davis of being the one "spreading the poison" for having the temerity to question whether it was appropriate for Barack Obama to sit silent in the pews of Trinity United for 20 years. You see, Joe Klein, in his infinite progressive wisdom, has declared this subject off limits, and apparently anyone who thinks otherwise is dishonorable, a bigot, a racist, or worse.
Bevan is absolutely correct. The difference this time vs. times past is that the Klein-type declaration is being rejected outright by many more voices than have been heard in the past. Instead of arguing with the TV, there are forums like Bevan's and this one in which people can point out the absolute bankruptcy of Klein's argument.
Klein doesn't want to talk about it because talking about it will mean actually taking a deep look at his "chosen One". And if he did that, he might not be as impressed as he presently is, so it's best not to look. And anyone who argues otherwise is "spreading poison".
The only poison I see in this process is that which could fill the abscess of ignorance if we don't vet this candidate and all the candidates to the fullest possible extent. Who a candidate associates himself with and for how long are important. So is the level of association. Obviously an "acquaintance" isn't at the same level as a "mentor". Someone you've known for a week is hardly at the same level as someone you've known for 23 years.
Any reasonable person who can make that differentiation would reject the Klein argument out of hand. A 23 year relationship with a declared "mentor" is an association which deserves scrutiny - especially when the mentor is as controversial as Wright. And it certainly isn't "poison" to demand answers to the questions which continue to lay there.
Attacking the motives of those who feel this discomfort about Senator Obama's response or nonresponse to Reverend Wright's comments is not just unfair and wrong. It also misses the important electoral point about winning the general election in November: This issue is not going away. If many loyal, progressive Democrats remain troubled by this issue, then there must be even more unease among key swing voters - soft "Reagan Democrats," independents and moderate Republicans - who will decide the 2008 election.
No, it's not. And while Bevan disagrees with Davis concerning Obama being hurt among Democrats, he certainly thinks the damage outside pure progressive circles has been extensive and may not be recoverable among some segments such as Reagan Democrats and independents. Bevan also notes the clear justification for the lingering questions:
This may offend Joe Klein's political sensibilities, but it's clearly within bounds. To most people, Obama's twenty year relationship with Rev. Wright (not to mention his long association with shady dealer Tony Rezko) goes directly to the question of Obama's much-touted judgment.
Not only judgment, but character as well. Until the answers are forthcoming and complete, this will not only linger, but fester. It will remain a major issue which Obama is eventually going to have to confront head on.
Bevan also makes the more obvious point about Klein:
Were the shoe on the other foot, of course, and the issue was John McCain's close, two-decade long relationship with a right-wing preacher with a history of saying offensive things from the pulpit, Joe Klein would almost certainly find that a legitimate topic germane to McCain's presidential bid. And he would scoff at those who suggested discussing the matter constituted "spreading the poison."
Nope - it would be all about "legitimate questions" concerning McCain's "judgment and character" and certainly questions about how much he agreed with the philosophy of both the pastor and his church. There'd also be a full court press until he answered the questions.
However, if, as a journalist, you're in the tank for a candidate, what would under normal circumstances be red meat for you suddenly becomes "poison" and full court presses are left to Kansas and Memphis State.
UPDATE:Klein whines and then tries to change the subject. Color me surprised.
Legitimate questions are non-partisan in nature, aren’t they?
No, but that’s been one of the tricks of the Left, recently, to label any attack as "political." SURE, it’s political, that’s why your opponent raised it, to beat you. It just doesn’t make it ILLEGITIMATE...Colgate tooth paste makes money when you watch their ads and buy their product, they have an interest in you doing so, but that doesn’t mean the stuff DOESN’T fight cavities, freshen your breathe and whiten your teeth. Just that the guy making the claim has a stake in the answer.
I am going to say this again. Obama is a blank sheet of paper. We rely on the media to properly vette a candidate - to dig around about him and find out what he is and what he stands for. Look at what happened to John Kerry? Too much became known of him and he is now history. It almost seems MSM is afraid to vette the man, afraid to do to him what happened to Kerry. Anybody here think the media was "fair and balanced" in 2004 between Kerry and Bush? They are afraid to throw a kink into the armor. So, with MSM studiously ignoring their function, how would you fill out that piece of paper called Obama - and in so doing, describe the man?
By his actions? "20 Years or so in the public arena" has been spouted more than once on thse pages and can anyone here provide me with a resume complete with accomplishments? Don’t forget to add the 130 votes of "Present" in the Illinois State Legislature. (Note: In fact show me another legislator from Illinois who used that ploy as often as Obama?) Any takers? Cap? Didn’t think so.
By his words? Give me a break. Everybody sees Politicians as someone who will say anything to get a vote. Look at Hillary and her Bosnia Fable. Obama himself has to answer for his own NAFTA gaffe.
By his writings? JFK accepted a Pulitzer Prize for "Profiles in Courage." Except JFK did not write the book. Did Gore write "Earth in the Balance"? His name is inside the cover but I don’t think so. Next!
By his acquaintances and friends? Bingo! If you got nothing else to judge the character of a person, he becomes the mirror image of his friends. And Obama has some very strange friends for someone who claims to represents the main stream.
If I am wrong - correct me. Show me how we can fill out the blank piece of paper called Barrack Obama in a way that overcomes any references to his friends, mentors and buddies and I will be glad to revise my impression of the man. Until then, I remain skeptical of the man, his wife, his politics and his intentions.
SShiell, you are wrong for a simple reason: it is OK for blacks to say things like Wright, and it would even be OK for a black president to agree with Wright. It’s not like Americans don’t deserve to be punished for our capitalistic racist past, anyway.
And we have to keep our focus on the real enemy: Republicans.
Anybody here think the media was "fair and balanced"
A simple question to answer the question ..
Q exactly who is getting the bulk of the campaign money raised by Clinton, Obama and McCain ?
A The media outlets.
Does anybody really expect them to have a "conflict of interest" by attacking those who are keeping their media corporations afloat, their pay checks coming ? We are talking about the bottom line, and campaign cash, in this 4 year cycle, is at it’s peak now thru November.