As far as I know, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright does not work for the Obama campaign. Obama has, in fact, "rejected and repudiated" some of what the good reverend has to say. But that has no bearing on those, like George Will, who insist somehow that Wright stands for Obama:
Because John McCain and other legislators worry that they are easily corrupted, there are legal limits to the monetary contributions that anyone can make to political candidates. There are, however, no limits to the rhetorical contributions that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright can make to McCain's campaign.
Because Wright is a gift determined to keep on giving, this question arises: Can persons opposed to Barack Obama's candidacy justly make use of Wright's invariably interesting interventions in the campaign? The answer is: Certainly, because Wright's paranoias tell us something — exactly what remains to be explored — about his 20-year parishioner.
Do they now. What would they tell us about Obama? Will of course follows this with selected and outrageous passages from recent (post-Obama disavowal–but that's really beside the point anyway) remarks by Reverend Wright. One of these, by the way, is the wholly obvious suggestion that something about our foreign policy has made us the targets of terrorism. I know it has always been
The crux of the matter, of course, is whether (1) there is any reasonable connection between Obama's beliefs and Wright's, and (2) whether Wright's beliefs are that outrageous in the first place.
Let's take two first. Certainly some of Wright's beliefs hinge on the conspiratorial (in case you don't know what a conspiracy is, that's like saying "global warming is a hoax" or "tax cuts produce more revenue" or "Iraq had weapons of mass destruction" or "Iran is the new Hitler" or "the world was created in six literal days a few thousand years ago" and "there is a gay agenda"–you get the idea). But we might remember that McCain has welcomed the support of a Pastor who advocates immanentizing the eschaton in the most literal of ways. And no one thinks McCain must believe the same thing. Many of Wright's statements–such as the one about terrorism–seem hardly outrageous. But it's clear in any case that Will doesn't care to have a discussion with Wright.
He's more interested in cultivating (1) Wright's connection with Obama. Here it is:
He is a demagogue with whom Obama has had a voluntary 20-year relationship. It has involved, if not moral approval, certainly no serious disapproval. Wright also is an ongoing fountain of anti-American and, properly understood, anti-black rubbish. His speech yesterday demonstrated that he wants to be a central figure in this presidential campaign. He should be.
Umberto Eco once observed, about computers, that MacIntosh is Catholic, while DOS is protestant. With Catholicism, you're not really free to pick and choose (thus the criticism of John Kerry–why don't you agree with every last thing the Pope says? Your disagreeing makes you dishonest!!!!); with protestantism, it's expected you pick and choose (of course John McCain doesn't have to agree with every last crazy belief of Hagee et alia–they're protestants!). So why should this be any different for Obama?
Besides, as far as I know, Wright's church does not have a doctrine of infallibility. That would be crazy.