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Wait, I Thought The Personal Was Political
By Ed Driscoll · April 29, 2008 04:07 PM · The Making of the President

Ann Althouse parses Obama's press conference today, and notes that while he denounced Wright's speeches, he backs off on actually denouncing Wright himself. And indeed, Obama seems more perturbed by their timing than anything else.

Which dovetails into this curious exchange between Obama and Chris Wallace, which Paul Mirengoff highlights:

WALLACE: Did you talk to reverend Wright recently about his decision to make a series of public appearances at this particular point?

OBAMA: You know, I didn't talk to him about that. I had talked to him after all this had happened, partly because I regretted I always regret people who are civilians, essentially, being dragged into these political fights.

And I expressed to him I said, "Look, we have very strong differences. I do not agree with the comments that you made. On the other hand, I regret that you have drawn so much attention."

How is Wright a civilian? When your ideology makes "the personal the political", and in an effort to create a holistic worldview, has politicized everything from religion to light bulbs to national defense, how can there be any "civilians" in politics?

You could make a good case that the Swift Vets or those victims of Bill Clinton who spoke out against him were "civilians" in politics--they knew that they would no longer be private citizens, and that by pointing out inconvenient truths about media favorites, they would be publicly trashed, and that their lives could potentially never be the same.

In contrast, Wright, gave politicized sermon after politicized sermon to his large clergy, and saw one of his sermons become the title of Obama's book, and others were quoted by Obama in his autobiographies. Over the last week, beginning with his appearance on Bill Moyer's show, Wright seems clearly intent in making the most of his 15 minutes. That doesn't sound like a political "civilian" to me.

Related: Heather Mac Donald explores "Poisonous 'Authenticity'".



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