Time's Klein: Can't Blame Obama for Not Rebuking 'Father Figure' Wright
Applauding Barack Obama's March 18 speech, Time's Joe Klein (file photo at right) argued that most people will understand why the Illinois senator could not throw his pastor under the bus, even as Klein applauded the fact that Obama made his grandmother a speedbump on the bus ride to the Denver convention (emphasis mine):
The part about his grandmother is the real payoff, though: I'd say that most white people, over a certain age, have had grandmothers like that. (I had two such.) And I suspect most fair-minded white people who hear that section will understand: Obama can't toss aside the pastor--who, after all, was probably a powerful father figure for a man whose own father disappeared when he was two years old--any more than I could, or would want to, toss aside embarrassing old Grandma Rae, who almost always produced some dreadful jaw-dropper at Thanksgiving.
Now, perhaps Wright was a father figure in some ways to Obama. But doesn't that spiritual father-son relationship over decades require maturation with which the "son figure," Obama, would avail himself the opportunity to respectfully but sternly rebuke Wright and ultimately to leave the congregation if and when such concerns went resolved?
Doesn't it occur to Klein that there's a vast difference between the deference and respect a loving grandmother deserves from a grandson and the duty a husband and father bears to his family and church community to confront a pastor spewing hateful bile weekly from the pulpit?
Doesn't it occur to Klein that that lack of judgment in this personal sphere could and should speak volumes to voters pondering Obama's suitability of judgment and resolve needed for the occupant of the Oval Office?
Meh, who cares, Klein practically argued. After all, it was a pretty speech:
Most people will never hear the elegant complexity of Obama's speech in full...though they certainly should. As others have already said, it was the best speech about race I've ever heard delivered by an American politician.