Commentary Magazine


Re: Suspicious Minds

The decision by the McCain campaign to put the Rev. Wright issue off limits tells me that McCain, once again, would rather lose an election than do something he thinks will harm the country. The decision says a lot about the man, for good and ill. Obviously, McCain is concerned about raising racial animosity in the country, and the behavior of a handful of yahoos at recent campaign events has frightened him. I think he’s worried that the anger directed toward Obama could turn violent and he does not want to take any chance of fanning the flames of racial hatred.

The problem is that Wright is one of the most racially divisive figures to take the American stage in recent memory–and it was Barack Obama, not John McCain, who gave Wright his platform. Obama not only attended Wright’s church for 20 years, knowing, as he admitted in his memoir, that Wright was a divisive character, but he stood by him even after Wright’s racist diatribes became public. It’s important to remember that Obama only renounced Wright after Wright turned on him.

Obama’s relationship with Wright is at the core of who this man is. Unlike his relationship with Bill Ayers, which is far more tenuous if no less repugnant, Obama’s ties to Wright reveal the deepest inconsistencies in Obama’s character. Obama’s longstanding and deep relationship with Wright is just cause for concern, and if the shoe were on the other foot, would anyone give John McCain a similar pass?

John McCain’s sense of honor is misplaced this time. He is doing a disservice not only to himself but the American people in silencing debate on Obama’s ties to Wright.