One aspect of character that people look for in a president is "tough-mindedness". The ideal president needs the intelligence and flexibility to change and adapt to events, certainly, but he also needs the mental fortitude to formulate a long term plan and see it through to completion.
Republican presidential nominee presumptive John McCain has tough-mindedness to the point where the man's name is virtually synonymous with this trait. Hillary Clinton has tough-mindedness, insofar as she has been widely accused of dragging the Democratic Party into a Götterdämmerung for ambition's sake. Whatever else you might think about the controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright, you have to admit that he is tough-minded as well
In a defiant appearance before the Washington media, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright said Monday that criticism surrounding his fiery sermons is an attack on the black church and he rejected those who have labeled him unpatriotic.
So how does Barrack Obama fit into the scheme of things, according to the Reverend:
Wright seemed to relish the chance to speak out after weeks of being derided in the press. He reveled in his retorts, high-fiving an audience member, pointing and winking at his supporters and mocking descriptions of him as Obama's spiritual mentor.
"I'm a pastor, he's a member. I'm not a spiritual mentor. Voodoo," he said, leaning into the microphone and wiggling his fingers in the air like he was conducting a seance.
Wright has been Obama's pastor for more than 20 years. Wright brought Obama to Christianity, inspired the title of his book "The Audacity of Hope," officiated at his wedding and baptized his daughters. Wright also told reporters Monday that he prayed privately with the family right before Obama announced he was running for president, although he didn't appear with them publicly.
The Reverend Wright is the outspoken titan of his community while Barack Obama is, basically, "this guy" who started showing up at the great Reverend Wright's sermons one day. Of course, they're both equally liberal, so you probably won't see much difference between them policy wise. When it comes to negotiating with foreign leaders and restoring America's place in the world, however, the Reverend Wright brings a rhetorical firepower to the table that Barack "Flinchy" Obama just can't match.
Consider, for example, the situation between Colombia and Venezuela. If Barack Obama is president when Hugo Chávez sends troops over the Colombian border, then you can pretty much say hello to the new People's Republic of Colombia. On the other hand, I think poor Hugo might rather suffer the indignity of a democratic Colombia on his border rather than risk receiving a tongue-lashing from a President Wright.
Even Andrew Sullivan (otherwise known as "Mister Barack Obama Supporter") is conceeding that Reverend Wright has almost destroyed the Obama campaign
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Obama needs not just to distance himself from Wright's views; he needs to disown him at this point. Wright himself, it seems to me, has become part of what Obama is fighting against: the boomer, Vietnam era's obsession with its red-blue, white-black, pro and anti-America fixations. That is not what this election needs to be about; and Wright's massive, racially divisive and, yes, bitter provocation requires a proportionate response.
We need a speech or statement from Obama in which he utterly repudiates this poison, however personally difficult that may be, however damaging the impact will be. The statement today will not do it. This is no longer about cynics trying to associate one man's politics with another. It is now about Wright attempting to associate himself and some of his noxious, stupid, rancid views with the likely Democratic nominee. Wright has given Obama no choice - and he has also given him another opportunity. He needs to seize it.
Let's face it, when even Andrew Sullivan is conceeding that Reverend Wright has driven Barack Obama into a near-total disintegration of his public persona, we have a conclusive case against the Obama candidacy.