Thursday, May 1, 2008

This Week's Review of Political Theater

Letter to the Editor of the Seattle P-I (published on, 5/1/2008)


Let us attempt to string events together. Sen. Barack Obama spends two months without making a clear statement about where he stands with the views of his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, all while Wright is as carefully managed (hidden) as Salman Rushdie on a bus tour through Tehran. Wright finally blasts on the scene with inflammatory rhetoric designed to be suitable for his followers and his detractors. Obama then issues a scathing repudiation of his "outrage" of Wright as if to say, "American people, now that I know what that man really stands for I feel fooled and betrayed. I know you've been there, too. Feel my pain."

It's tempting to suspend disbelief long enough to swallow this carefully staged political Kabuki. Perhaps if we hadn't already endured 18 seasons of MTV's "Real World," this sort of contrived drama would be believable.

Obama is a worldly man and there is no debating that he wants us to elect him to a position that requires its holder to execute the most flawless of judgment. But, if he can't see through his pastor, a man with whom he has spent countless hours and intimate moments, I think we have to consider whether he fails the test that one must pass to be President. Even if one is to allow him a "free pass" with Wright, what about William Ayers? What about Tony Rezko?

If Obama chooses to claim lapses in judgment as to who he associates with, doesn't the growing pile of such relationships also paint the picture of himself as being dense? Or does he present voters with the possibility that he simply changes his affiliations based the political needs of the moment? Or is he simply running away from who he really is because it makes him unelectable? I'm not sure that any of those options gives the people a very positive impression of the once-anointed candidate.

Try again, Senator. We've been entertained. Now give us the truth.

Bryan Myrick