Monday, May 5, 2008

Like Gum on the Sole of His Shoe

Mike Smith / Las Vegas Sun / 2008

Advice to Senator Obama: there are no good, long answers to short, direct questions. The length of the answer is the answer, no matter what the words say. Ask Bill Clinton.

I kind of feel sorry for Senator Obama. He is being asked questions about the doctrines of Reverend Wright and his 20 year connection with him, questions that require explanations that few people will accept or understand. The longer his answer the worse it sounds. Rev. Wright is not going away soon and the occasional sympathetic voter is not going to help the Senator get elected --- because underneath the media hubbub is a reality that makes voters uncomfortable.

I heard Rev. Wright himself articulate his ideology in a speech at the National Press Club and the subsequent interview. And it is this: the theology undergirding the ministry of Rev. Wright is called "liberation theology". It was popular in the 50's and 60's in seminaries across the nation. In the Roman Catholic church the Jesuits were known to have ken for it. Many Universities in the country had classes on it and some whole theology departments were devoted to it. The simplified idea: Christians, especially its ministers, are called to an active participation in freeing the financially and politically oppressed. If you interpret Scripture through the lens of Marx you get liberation theology. Rev. Wright defended his comments at the National Press Club Meeting as consistent with the teachings of liberation theology. His words. That's a problem for the Senator running for President.

Unfortunately, for Obama the world has spun a different way, liberation theology as a popular trend is going nowhere. The Catholic Church has all but forcefully asked its proponents to leave. Marxist political philosophy is embraced by a few European political parties and a few Universities. It's not a growth movement, ideologically speaking.

The other reality is this: until now Senator Obama has been dealing with "friendlies." Wait until the Republicans unload their arsenal. Every word written by Senator Obama will be scrutinized in the light of Reverend Wright and interpreted in its most damaging meaning. Whether that is what he meant or not.

Which leads me to final point. Many independent voters will not show up to vote and some will vote for McCain, a fact that is making Democratic leadership nervous. They are beyond nervous. Senator Obama's long answers on why he is not ideologically aligned with his pastor and liberation theologians will be as effective as Romney distancing himself from the Mormons. He better get a shorter, more humorous or self-effacing answer -- and quick.

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