Matthews: Jeremiah Wright on 'Left,' Rick Warren 'Far Right'

Surely no one would view Rev. Jeremiah Wright as closer to the centerpoint of American politics than Pastor Rick Warren, right? Wrong.  Here's Chris Matthews on this evening's Hardball.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: It seems like Barack Obama, as much as seems to inspire people, including me, has a problem with pastors.  I don't know what it is. You get him hooked up with a pastor, whether it's Jeremiah Wright, or it's this guy Rick Warren.  One's on the left, one's on the far right.  Both are causing him trouble.
So Wright's merely "left," while Warren's "far-right."  Do we really need to prove the obvious: that Warren is vastly more mainstream than Wright? It hardly seems worth the effort, but let's consider a few factoids:
  • Warren is so respected that the presidential candidates of both major parties agreed to participate in a forum with him during the campaign. 
  • Obama claims to share Warren's opposition to gay marriage.
  • Warren's The Purpose Driven Life, has sold over 20 million copies, becoming one of the best selling non-fiction books of all time.
  • Barack Obama had to formally rebuke the Rev. Wright and leave his church to avoid further damage through association with Wright's eccentric views.
  • Warren is currently criticized by some for his support of Proposition 8 in California, limiting marriage to one man and one woman.  But that proposition passed, even in blue California.  A strong majority of Americans continue to support such limitations on marriage.
  • Wright calls our country AmeriKKKa.  He accuses the US government of "inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color."
  • And of course, Wright saw 9-11 as a case of chickens coming home . . . to roost.
Question for readers: if on the Matthewsian Spectrum of American Politics, Wright's on the left and Warren on the far right, whom would the Hardball host place at the precise centerpoint?
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.