WASHINGTON—Sen. Barack Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright should have no complaints about being taken out of context Sunday night. CNN was on the third replay of the entire sizzling speech he delivered at the Detroit chapter of the NAACP by the time I turned off the TV. Fox ran Wright’s keynote live. And Wright had some news for Obama’s team—he’s writing a book, to be out later this year.
“Barack Hussein Obama,” Wright said three times at one point. “Arabic is a language, not a religion…stop trying to scare folks.”
Wright should also have no reason to puzzle why he will remain an issue in Obama’s presidential campaign. Clips from Wright’s sermons—including one where he says “God Damn America,” triggered a crisis in the Obama campaign.
At a crucial time in Obama’s quest for the Democratic nomination, instead of keeping low, Wright is seeking the spotlight as he finds his entire career as the senior pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s South Side in question just as he is retiring from the congregation.
So Wright made that big Detroit speech Sunday night. Two sermons at a South Dallas megachurch Sunday morning. A PBS interview where a more modulated Wright talked to Bill Moyers, on last Friday night. At the National Press Club Monday morning.
As Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on CNN, Wright "wants to stand in defense of his life's work."
Sunday’s performance in Detroit showed Wright in many dimensions: scholarly, bombastic, entertaining, as Wright sang to demonstrate the difference between how “African-Americans” and “European-American” appreciate musical meter, using body language to contrast the U. of Michigan and Michigan State marching bands with the Florida A&M.
He also devoted time to explanations on why black and whites learn differently (a left brain/right brain thing) and the black church.
“Different,” said Wright, “does not mean deficient.”
*Wright really wants the country to understand who he is in a historical context of the African-American experience in the U.S.
*The uproar over Obama is carving out some post-retirement opportunities for Wright.
*Wright has several different modes. The Wright Sunday night was not the Wright on Moyers.
*Trouble spots for Obama from the Sunday Wright speech: casting the nation’s African-American community as a monolithic group, whose children are “right brain subject oriented in their learning styles” compared to “European-American” kids who have a “left brain cognitive object oriented learning style.”
*There is a lot of ethnic hyper-sensitivity around. Wright comments about the Irish—may cause Obama some headaches.
Wright continues to be a distraction as Obama stumps in North Carolina on Monday.