Richard Cohen, "liberal" columnist for the Washington Post, claims that Obama must disagree more with a person with whom he (i.e., Obama) disagrees. To be more precise, Obama's minister at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, has praised Louis Farrakhan, violinist and noted anti-Semite. He hasn't praised him for his anti-semitism. Actually, he, the minister, hasn't praised him at all:
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.
Got that. The good Reverend's daughters' magazine has praised Farrakhan with an award named for their father.
Anyway, so Farrakhan, despite liking Felix Mendelsohn, is an anti-Semite. This is a silly view, Cohen argues, because many Jews gave their lives in the cause of civil rights for African Americans. And he supports this with many paragraphs about what an anti-Semite Farrakhan is, how he is like another famous anti-Semite named Hitler, and so forth. He then brings his argument to a close:
I don't for a moment think that Obama shares Wright's views on Farrakhan. But the rap on Obama is that he is a fog of a man. We know little about him, and, for all my admiration of him, I wonder about his mettle. The New York Times recently reported on Obama's penchant while serving in the Illinois legislature for merely voting "present" when faced with some tough issues. Farrakhan, in a strictly political sense, may be a tough issue for him. This time, though, "present" will not do.
But, as Cohen says elsewhere in the article:
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.
Take that Obama. Cohen wonders whether you have the mettle to disagree with someone with whom you disagree.