Monday, May 5, 2008

Political palate-cleanser: Frank Rich on the all-white elephant in the room

Well, palate-cleanser in one way -- at least it's a break from the brouhaha over Pastor Wright and a call to examine our double standards.

Frank Rich of the New York Times weighs in.

... Mr. Hagee's videos have never had the same circulation on television as Mr. Wright's. A sonorous white preacher spouting venom just doesn't have the telegenic zing of a theatrical black man.

Perhaps that's why virtually no one has rebroadcast the highly relevant prototype for Mr. Wright's fiery claim that 9/11 was America's chickens "coming home to roost." That would be the Sept. 13, 2001, televised exchange between Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, who blamed the attacks on America's abortionists, feminists, gays and A.C.L.U. lawyers. (Mr. Wright blamed the attacks on America's foreign policy.) Had that video re-emerged in the frenzied cable-news rotation, Mr. McCain might have been asked to explain why he no longer calls these preachers "agents of intolerance" and chose to cozy up to Mr. Falwell by speaking at his Liberty University in 2006.

None of this is to say that two wacky white preachers make a Wright right. It is entirely fair for any voter to weigh Mr. Obama's long relationship with his pastor in assessing his fitness for office. It is also fair to weigh Mr. Obama's judgment in handling this personal and political crisis as it has repeatedly boiled over. But whatever that verdict, it is disingenuous to pretend that there isn't a double standard operating here. If we're to judge black candidates on their most controversial associates - and how quickly, sternly and completely they disown them - we must judge white politicians by the same yardstick

Read the full text of "The All-White Elephant in the Room"here.


johnieb said...

On one level this is entirely inoffensive policy; the Republicans abandonment of anti-racism, and in far too many cases the wholesale, wholehearted embrace of racism over several decades, is too obvious to be news, and has been since Nixon and Kevin Phillips (The latter still an astute analyst of U S politics)

On the other, it may be read as a "It's over with Hillary; let's go on to more important matters, how we (Obama) beat McCain. As with everything I remember seeing in this campaign, bad and maybe some good.

Bottom line line for me: "Anything but Republicans!"

Hummmm; there's no "Word Verification" letters to fill in. I shall copy this one.

pj said...

Cable "news" outlets say: Why pay attention to McCain and Hagee? It's much more fun to watch the Black guy and the ol' lady mud-wrassle. Besides, the CEO wants McCain to win.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Thanks for that link, Jane. I've decided to poke the hornet's nest and talk about race on my blog. I'd love to get your input...