30 April 2008

Does Obama Need To Come Out Hard Against Rev Wright?

My buddy and I went at it this morning. He wants Obama to come out hard - not to denounce Wright, or dissassociate himself from Wright, but to tell Wright publicly that he needs to "shut his mouth" for the good of the campaign.

I couldn't believe I was hearing this come out of my pal's mouth - he is an accomplished lawyer who has been the campaign manager for a couple of local judiciary elections himself.

"Dude," I said, "there is NO way he can say that."

"What do you mean he can't say that? If he can't show the American people that he can handle one loud mouth negro, then why should they believe that he can rule the country?"

"Come on, man," I said. "You cannot manhandle a negro like this. He doesn't have anything to lose. And he will use whatever you do against you, to show how he has defied yet another attempt by 'The Man' or his surrogates to silence someone who is speaking truth to power. That's the new black political phrase, you know - 'speak truth to power'."

We went back and forth awhile, until the need to get back to work intruded on our argument.

There is a reason Jackie Robinson integrated baseball, Sidney Poitier was Hollywood's first leading man, and Obama is likely to be the first black Democratic nominee for president, the same reason that Michael Jordan still gets more love from NBA fans than Shaq, Kobe, and Iverson combined, the same reason that Tiger Woods has the fans twenty deep around the greens.

My buddy wants Obama to show some teeth to Wright. I think its a waste of time, that the news cycles are so short now that this will die back down next week of its own accord, especially after the primary results come in and everyone has to re-handicap Hillary's odds of winning the nomination.

Now, if Obama had gotten to where he is today by being direct, by being forthright, by confronting issues head on, I might have had some kind of reason to agree with my buddy.

To ask a man to do something against his nature is the worst kind of political pandering, especially if its sole reason is to "look presidential". We haven't had a coalition building president in a long time. I am finding it refreshing that we have someone who does not have to resort to he-man antics to get his point across. The warrior king is a relic. Our presidents these days are exactly what the title says they are - chief executive officers.

If Jackie Robinson had thrown things back at the people who threw things at him from the bleachers, had hunted down those who made death threats against him, had taken his bat to the players who taunted him on the field with racial epithets, he wouldn't have lived as long as he did - hell, he wouldn't have played as long as he did.

If Michael Jordan had supported Jessie Jackson for president - publicly - if he had divorced his wife years ago and dated the kind of chicks he really wanted - a lot of the air would have been let out of His Airness's image.

Obama and his strategists have done pretty well so far. I think they can get things back on track and continue to execute their gameplan without overhauling the Obama personality at this late date.

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