As Indianans decide whether the race will go on and on, pundit Christopher Hitchens nicely frames what is really THE QUESTION about Obama right now, the question which, if O fails to get the nomination or gets it and loses in the fall, will be the lingering “What If” featured in his political obituary:
What can it be that has kept Obama in [Rev. Jeremiah] Wright’s pews, and at Wright’s mercy, for so long and at such a heavy cost to his aspirations? Even if he pulls off a mathematical nomination victory, he has completely lost the first, fine, careless rapture of a post-racial and post-resentment political movement and mired us again in all the old rubbish that predates Dr. King. What a sad thing to behold. And how come? I think we can exclude any covert sympathy on Obama’s part for Wright’s views or style—he has proved time and again that he is not like that, and even his own little nods to “Minister” Farrakhan can probably be excused as a silly form of Chicago South Side political etiquette. All right, then, how is it that the loathsome Wright married him, baptized his children, and received donations from him?
Hitchens goes on to speculate that it was the pugnacious Mrs. Obama who kept the family anchored to Wright. And, given what we know about Michelle Obama’s tortured relationship with her own blackness, and her privileged status in life, I think that’s a pretty good guess.
It’s her way of saying, “Yes, I’ve enjoyed opportunity and power and privilege far beyond what 99% of blacks (and whites) have ever enjoyed, but see, see I keep my Genuinely Black Dues paid up by clapping along as the Rev bashes the honky whose foot somehow slipped off my neck long enough for me to attend Princeton and Harvard and become a high-powered corporate lawyer.”