2. Mickey Kaus blogs on "Obama`s Pastor Disaster:"
Old CW: Not Black Enough; New CW: What`s All This Black Business? Tom Maguire wonders why Jodi Kantor`s front-page NYT piece on Barack Obama`s pastor, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, hasn`t generated more controversy. Having now read it, I tend to agree. I`d certainly be more comfortable with a presidential nominee whose main spiritual man 1) hadn`t visited Col. Qaddafi (even back in `84); 2) talked less about "oppression" and "this racist United States of America;" 3) when discussing the solution to poverty, talked more about individual achievement and less about the role of "community"—including maybe even celebrating "middleclassness" instead of using it as shorthand for selfishness; 4) in general wasn`t so obsessed with race--as evidenced most negatively in talk of "white arrogance" and derogatory reference to the "Great White West." ... I suspect Rev. Wright is going to be a bigger problem for Obama`s campaign than has been conventionally perceived. When Obama declared "we worship an awesome God in the blue states," were voters expecting this?...
That the Rev. Wright has been Obama`s "spiritual advisor" for the last 20 years is the equivalent of a white candidate having, say, the Rev. Bob Jones III, who got in so much trouble for banning interracial dating on his campus, as his spiritual advisor. "Wait a minute," you say, "The difference is that white people have power and black people don`t, so racialism is bad when whites do it but fine when blacks do it!" Well, sure ... except that Obama wants to be the President of the United States and that`s as powerful as you can get.
This paradox that Mickey identifies — that Obama isn`t very black by upbringing but is very black by avocation — isn`t terribly hard to explain. It`s precisely because he`s a preppie from paradise, and thus his black street cred is always in question, that he`s searched out black racialist organizations like the Rev. Wright`s church. If he was as culturally black as, say, James Brown, Don King, Charles Barkley, etc., he`d be more "comfortable in his own skin" and feel less of a need for a racialist community to validate his authenticity as a black man.
3. By the way, why has it become such a commonplace that Obama is "comfortable in his own skin" that there are 1,690 references to this clich?© on Google, when the man himself wrote 442 pages about precisely the opposite? Wouldn`t a more plausible explanation for the gap between his autobiography and his current media image be that Obama is a talented actor? Cary Grant, for example, sure seemed comfortable in his own skin, but he wasn`t, at least not until the last eight years of his tremendous career, after psychoanalysis (using LSD, which was perfectly legal in 1958) helped him come to grips with his rampant insecurities.