Ob­vi­ous ques­tion

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

What can it be that has kept Sen. Barack Obama in the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’s pews, and at Mr. Wright’s mercy, for so long and at such a heavy cost to his as­pi­ra­tions, Christo­pher Hitchens asks at www.slate.com.

“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 [Martin Luther] King. What a sad thing to be­hold. And how come? [. . .] Could it pos­si­bly have any­thing, I won­der, to do with Mrs. Obama?” Mr. Hitchens writes.

“This ob­vi­ous ques­tion is now be­com­ing in­escapable, and there is an inex­cus­able un­will­ing­ness among re­porters to be the one to ask it. (One can pic­ture Obama look­ing pained and sen­si­tive and say­ing, ‘Keep my wife out of it,’ or words to that ef­fect, as Clin­ton tried to do in 1992 when Jerry Brown and Ralph Nader quite cor­rectly in­quired about his spouse’s in­flu­ence.) If there is a rea­son why the po­ten­tial nom­i­nee has been keep­ing what he him­self now ad­mits to be very bad com­pany — and if the rest of his char­ac­ter seems to make this im­prob­a­ble — then ei­ther he is hid­ing some­thing and/or it is le­git­i­mate to ask him about his part­ner.

“I di­rect your at­ten­tion to Mrs. Obama’s 1985 the­sis at Prince­ton Univer­sity. Its ti­tle (rather lim­ited in scope, given the au­thor and the cam­pus) is ‘Prince­ton-Ed­u­cated Blacks and the Black Com­mu­nity.’ To de­scribe it as hard to read would be a mis­take; the the­sis can­not be ‘read’ at all, in the strict sense of the verb. This is be­cause it wasn’t writ­ten in any known lan­guage. Any­way, at quite an early stage in the text, Michelle Obama an­nounces that she’s much in­flu­enced by the defin- ition of black ‘sep­a­ra­tionism’ of­fered by Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamil­ton in their 1967 screed ‘Black Power: The Pol­i­tics of Lib­er­a­tion in Amer­ica.’ ”

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