I WOULDN'T MIND A LITTLE MR. HYDE
In a Salon forum titled "What Should Obama Do About Rev. Jeremiah Wright?," Robert George of the New York Post writes:
Wright's Jekyll and Hyde nature is inevitably damaging to Obama. At his best -- as he was in much of the NAACP speech and with some aspects of the National Press Club appearance -- Wright comes across as a man of some scholarly depth and sense of American history (the good and the bad). At his worst, however (as, arguably, he was during the press club Q-and-A), he comes across as angry, dismissive and flip (not in a good way).
The Obama many Americans have come to appreciate is similar to the "good Wright." What must unnerve many of those who have voted for Obama or are open to voting for him is the fear that there exists a "Mr. Hyde-Wright" lurking in Obama.
There's the irony: the Obama-bashers on the right and in the Clinton camp want you to think that Obama has a secret angry side that's a lot like Wright's, while some of us (me at least) wish a little of that aspect of Wright had rubbed off on Obama all these years.
I woke up yesterday, and we were in the thick of the media's Wrightapalooza, and Hillary Clinton was taunting Obama about debating from flatbed trucks, and the image of Obama was a guy who was just besieged and helpless. Righties and Clintoniacs think Wright's crazier ideas rubbed off on Obama? Not even his style did. Obama heard Wright for twenty years and didn't seem to pick up any of Wright's merry pugnaciousness. Yes, at this moment Wright's out of control, but a bit of that pugnaciousness -- directed at the distraction-crazed press, at John McCain and the Republicans, at Clinton -- would do Obama a world of good right now.
Right now, Obama needs to do things that write the headlines; instead, he's just the unfortunate subject of them. Clinton has been skillful lately at feeding the media beast what it wants, and the press is (Tuzla excepted) writing the stories the way she set out to have them written. Wright is making his own headlines as well. Obama needs to be a little more like Clinton and Wright.