In the blind squirrels and nuts category, here's Michael Gerson today:
In the past few weeks, Barack Obama has learned the political perils of condescension.
His Philadelphia speech on race was filled with it. People who don't share Obama's views were not refuted, they were explained.
Lower-income whites, he argued, "feel their dreams slipping away," and so they turn to resentment against busing and affirmative action, "anger over welfare" and "fears of crime." And Obama not only understands these angry and manipulated souls, he defends them. They should not, after all, be labeled as "misguided" or "racist."
This is the same argument, expressed more bluntly at a San Francisco fundraiser, that Obama made about bitter, small-town Americans who cling to guns and religion. He does not even admit the possibility that these folks might have actual convictions on issues such as affirmative action, welfare, crime, gun ownership or the meaning of the universe. The only thing more insulting than being attacked is being explained.
He's right about this (and we've complained about this a bunch). And he would have been even more right had he said that his page at the Post is fully of explanations rather than arguments (rather than take a few words out of context from Obama). But then Gerson inexplicably (hee hee) writes:
But black liberation theology takes this argument a large step further — or perhaps backward. The Rev. Wright's intellectual mentor, professor James Cone of Union Theological Seminary, retreats from the universality of Christianity. "Black theology," says Cone, "refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him." And again: "Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy." And again: "In the New Testament, Jesus is not for all, but for the oppressed, the poor and unwanted of society, and against oppressors."
This emphasis on the structural evil of white America has natural political consequences — encouraging a belief that American politics is defined by its crimes, a tendency to accept anti-government conspiracy theories about AIDS and drugs, a disturbing openness to anti-American dictators such as Castro and Gaddafi. It explains Wright's description of the Sept. 11 attacks as a "wake-up call" to "white America."
What would explain Gerson's condescending explanation of Reverend Wright? Maybe the impulse to condescension is irresistible.