Richard Cohen Trys to Keep The Racial Flames Burning
by alexmhogan, Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 07:55:40 AM EST
At a moment when it looks like the Clinton and Obama camps are agreeing to pull back from the increasingly racialized fight between the two candidates, Richard Cohen at the Washington Post decides to dump a big gallon of gasoline on the fading fire.
Barack Obama is a member of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ. Its minister, and Obama's spiritual adviser, is the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In 1982, the church launched Trumpet Newsmagazine; Wright's daughters serve as publisher and executive editor. Every year, the magazine makes awards in various categories. Last year, it gave the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to a man it said "truly epitomized greatness." That man is Louis Farrakhan.
Uh-oh. Being this is Cohen's lede, one would think he is acccusing Obama of being big Farrakhan supporter too, right?
It's important to state right off that nothing in Obama's record suggests he harbors anti-Semitic views or agrees with Wright when it comes to Farrakhan. Instead, as Obama's top campaign aide, David Axelrod, points out, Obama often has said that he and his minister sometimes disagree. Farrakhan, Axelrod told me, is one of those instances.
So what have we learned? Obama goes to a church whose minister said some nice things about Farrakhan in his newsletter. Obama says he disagrees. But then..
Fine. But where I differ with Axelrod and, I assume, Obama is that praise for an anti-Semitic demagogue is not a minor difference or an intrachurch issue. The Obama camp takes the view that its candidate, now that he has been told about the award, is under no obligation to speak out on the Farrakhan matter. It was not Obama's church that made the award but a magazine
I guess having your spokesperson tell the media he disagrees with his minister's statements counts to some folks as "speaking out" but not to Cohen.
But then he really cuts to the chase by the end:
I don't for a moment think that Obama shares Wright's views on Farrakhan.
Not that it stopped him from spilling over a 1,000 words linking the two in a major paper.