- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wright and Obama

Time magazine columnist Joe Klein says the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is out to destroy his former congregant Sen. Barack Obama.

“Oy. And furthermore, I’ve been to dozens and dozens of African-American church services over the years, including the investiture of one of my friends as an AME minister two years ago, and I have very rarely, if ever, heard the kind of rants that are part of Reverend Wright’s canon,” Mr. Klein said yesterday in a blog at www.time.com.

“Yes, as many have pointed out, Martin Luther King Jr. gave some angry, angry sermons — especially about the obscenity of the war in Vietnam — but for Wright to say the attacks on him are an attack on the black church is to offer a straitened and solipsistic view of that grand institution. Black liberation theology is not the black church.

“And worse, Wright’s purpose now seems quite clear: to aggrandize himself — the guy is going to be a go-to mainstream media source for racial extremist spew, the next iteration of Al Sharpton — and destroy Barack Obama.”

Tacit admission

“Obama understands his advantage with the media, as he perhaps inadvertently demonstrated over the weekend on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ “ William Kristol writes in the New York Times.

“In the course of dismissing much pundit commentary for typically overreacting to events, good or bad, Obama explained, ‘Well, look, after you lose, then everybody writes these anguished columns about, why did you lose?’

“Obama chose a nice word: ‘anguished.’ You’re only anguished by an Obama defeat if you’re rooting for an Obama victory. Obama was tacitly acknowledging that much of the liberal media has been hoping he’d win. Now, they’re rooting for him to close the deal,” Mr. Kristol said.

“That’s fine. If I were on the left I might be rooting for that too. But this focus on Obama has resulted in a refusal to give Hillary her due. It’s startling how much of the commentary on the Pennsylvania results has had to do with Obama’s flaws and mistakes — rather than Hillary’s strengths and successes. Maybe in Pennsylvania, they were voting for Clinton, not simply against Obama.”

Tougher on Bill

Hillary Clinton will have nightmares about her botched run for the presidency; it’ll be worse for Bill Clinton,” Albert R. Hunt writes at www. bloomberg.com.

“Senator Clinton’s impressive Pennsylvania primary victory last week exposed Barack Obama’s general-election vulnerabilities. However, there is nothing to suggest Clinton would be a stronger nominee,” Mr. Hunt said.

“Thus, Obama remains the clear favorite to win the nomination, and the New York senator’s painful legacy, in the most important professional endeavor of her life, will have been picking the wrong people and putting together a deeply flawed campaign.

“In time she will have fresh opportunities; perhaps a Senate leadership role, or she may emulate Edward M. Kennedy as a truly great lawmaker, or, if Obama loses, make another run for the White House with lessons learned.

“It’s going to be tougher for her husband. The most talented and resilient politician of this generation has damaged his standing with gaffes, political miscalculations and a series of paranoiac, volcanic eruptions.”

‘Backing’ Obama

House Republicans would rather the Democrats nominate Sen. Barack Obama for president because they think Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton would be more of a threat to Sen. John McCain among moderate voters, said Rep. Tom Cole, the Republican Party’s campaign chief.

The Oklahoma Republican said either Democrat is more polarizing than Mr. McCain, but it’s Mr. Obama’s inexperience and ideological background that would help Republicans most.

“I think he is the weaker [Democratic] candidate,” Mr. Cole told reporters yesterday.

As chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Mr. Cole is charged with raising money and setting strategy for GOP House candidates in a year in which every member of that chamber, a third of the Senate and the presidency will be on the ballot.

Mr. Cole said Mr. McCain has a record so bipartisan on issues like campaign-finance reform that conservatives sometimes find him hard to support. But Mr. McCain’s centrist streak appeals to the ideological center, where Mr. Cole believes the congressional and presidential elections could be decided.

Mr. Obama “is by any definition very liberal, to the left of Hillary Clinton, in a center-right country,” Mr. Cole said. “That is very, very helpful to us.”

Change of view

“The old adage that politics makes strange bedfellows holds true for political journalism as well,” Ronald A. Cass writes at www.realclear politics.com.

“One side consequence of the long, drawn-out, and (on the Democrats’ side at least) fairly acrimonious primary contests for the presidency has been a new-found appreciation for columnists we usually love to hate. While Hillary Clinton bashes Barack Obama and Ann Coulter trashes John McCain, Democrats and Republicans turning pages at the kitchen table or sitting at the computer increasingly are looking fondly at commentaries from people they once would have placed atop their personal ‘most wanted’ lists,” Mr. Cass said.

“Let me start where all true learning begins, at home. My wife, a staunch conservative, in the past few weeks has gleefully directed me to columns by Maureen Dowd, Eugene Robinson and Richard Cohen — not for derision, but because she actually liked what they had to say and admired the sharpness with which they said it. While the change in her reading preferences has been discomfiting — in a ‘who are you and what have you done with my wife’ kind of way — it doubtless is not peculiar to her. A lot of political junkies are finding that the other side has some interesting and thoughtful writers.”

Pulling out

Democrat Robert Daskas‘ campaign says he’s dropping out of the race to represent Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District.

The campaign said in a statement yesterday that Mr. Daskas is withdrawing because of family reasons. It did not elaborate, the Associated Press reports.

The former prosecutor had been considered a strong candidate to unseat four-term Republican incumbent Jon Porter. The 3rd District includes parts of Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes .com.

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