I never thought I'd ever utter or write these words, but "Bravo, Hillary Clinton!"
Senator Clinton's debate performance in Philadelphia was her best piece of work of the campaign. She nicely sliced and diced Obama and served him up with a side of rice! So many clips can be culled from the debate for use as a McCain campaign ad against Senator Obama, that the RNC owes Hillary a consulting fee.
(For that matter, she also let a few lines pass her lips which could be used by McCain if, by some turn of events, Senator Clinton winds up with the Democratic nomination. A double gift. Her reference to her own "baggage" and her "embarrassment" over the sniper snafu are gems that also can pepper McCain campaign ads. But I digress.)
Hillary's greatest contribution from this debate, to my mind, was her correctly redirecting the emphasis of the Wright controversy away from the inflammatory statements of Wright, and onto Obama's underlying core beliefs and philosophies. This has long been my frustration with the discussion in the conservative press concerning Pastor Wright. By focusing on the outrageous statements themselves, the forest is lost for the incessant examination of the trees.
As we should have learned from the Clinton presidency, character matters.
While there are those who defend Obama, stating that Obama should not be tainted with "guilt by association," when you are running for the highest office in the most powerful nation in the free world, you must be prepared to endure and survive scrutiny under the heading, "You are known by the company you keep." And the theme song for Senator Obama could well be "Bad Company."
Regardless of the actual statements made by Rev Wright - one need only understand that the church is founded upon the Black Liberation Theology of James Cone, and holds as foundational tenets the divisive, racist, and Marxist doctrines of that movement.
In any church, one may occasionally find statements made by the pastor with which they may not agree. It would not raise an eyebrow to choose to overlook these statements and maintain membership in that church, if they find the preponderance of the teaching from the pulpit to be otherwise consistent with their core beliefs and the church's statement of faith.
If, however, the statement of faith and core beliefs of the church are inconsistent with an individual's core beliefs and world view... one would rightly expect that individual to seek another church. And conversely, it would not be unreasonable for one to question the credibility of one who remains in a church for 20 years, cites the pastor as "mentor" and "advisor" and who makes the bulk of his "charitable contributions" to that church, if he claims that his core beliefs are at odds with the stated and published core philosophy and foundational tenets of that church. If his core beliefs conflict with the foundation on which the church stands, why would he allow his kids to be baptized into it? Why would he refuse to "disown" the pastor in the face of outrageous statements which are consistent with the church's foundational teachings? It is simply irrational.
In defense of Pastor Wright, the argument is made; "But we must consider the 'good work' the church has done." Poppycock! The same argument is used to defend Farrakhan, Hamas in Gaza, etc. Farrakhan's support of black families and encouragement to succeed are used to defend his racist and anti-Semitic statements. Hamas's "humanitarian" aid to the Palestinians of Gaza is used to defend their launching rockets into Israel.
Barack Obama entered the race for the nomination having flown under the radar for most of his career in politics. He cast many "present" votes on issues of significance rather than taking a stand one way or another, which he might later have to explain. His campaign touted the bumper sticker slogan of "change," appealing to the dissatisfaction with the status-quo... but offering little in the way of a clear outline of the "change" he expected to usher in. Obama is a charismatic character, a man of color, and he was a gifted orator. Most importantly, he presented as a blank page - with no "baggage" or "history" to dislike. Like a movie screen, he simply allowed others to project their hopes, desires, frustrations and fears - and he simply reflected them. He wanted to run as "plain vanilla."
But, thanks to the diligent investigating by some on the Right, the "real Obama" has begun to be unearthed and revealed. And thanks to Hillary's tenacious clinging to her candidacy, and exploiting these unearthed associations, Obama's true character is being revealed. The "reflectivity" of the Obama blank screen is being degraded as the screen begins to take on Barack's own true colors.
Obama's character and judgment are being scrutinized. His associations, statements and actions are disconcerting, as they are surprisingly coherent and thematic. His "mentor" is a Black Liberation Theologist who damns America. He is "close" with a former Weather Underground Terrorist who declared war on the US and regrets that his bombings didn't go far enough. He refused to salute the flag, or to wear one. He has ties with other "pastors" of questionable character. He has unsavory relationships like Rezko. He makes "elitist" statements about "bitter" folk in the heartland.
A recent caller to Crane Durham, who was guest hosting the Randy Tobler radio talk show, made a very astute observation:
"Hillary Clinton's troubles come when she lies. But Obama's troubles start when he tells the truth!" He elaborated by pointing out that when Obama speaks off the cuff and reveals what he really thinks - we get a glimpse into who he really is... and maybe he's not someone we like very much.