Jeremiah Wright apparently felt disrespected and angry at Barack Obama when he didn't stand 100% behind him during the controversy that erupted just over a month ago. And so he has spent the past month carefully planning how to get back, and now he has.
Bob Herbert has a very insightful column about Jeremiah Wright and his outbursts this weekend and today.
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright went to Washington on Monday not to praise Barack Obama, but to bury him...
Feeling dissed by Senator Obama, Mr. Wright gets revenge on his former follower while bathed in a spotlight brighter than any he could ever have imagined. He’s living a narcissist’s dream. At long last, his 15 minutes have arrived...
So it’s not like he’s naïve politically. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Forget the gibberish about responding to attacks on the black church. That is not what the reverend’s appearance before the press club was about. He was responding to what he perceives as an attack on him.
Add in all the things he said this weekend, and it's pretty clear that after a few weeks of careful consideration, Reverend Wright is going out of his way to do the worst he can of proving the critics right. It is certainly true that the clips we've all seen were taken as small snippets of much larger sermons. But this weekend, the snippets were the sermons as he seemed to go out of his way to project the bogeyman that the Senator Obama's opponents have portrayed Wright as. There is no way he could have in just a weekend said extemporaneously so many of the things thich have bothered people, if he hadn't thought out well in advance how to say all of them.
Apparently Wright feels betrayed by Obama's failure to stand by him, including his sermons, when the story first appeared. So he's doing everything he can to hurt Obama now. He is being the caricature that was first put out there by Obama's political opponents. And he's not a stupid man at all, I'm sure he knows good and well what he's doing this week.
A window into his thinking was revealed in the Bill Moyers interview which started off this weekend of wall-to-wall veiled criticism of Obama mixed with outrageous outbursts. He said that Obama had responded to the intial criticism 'as a politician, and not as a man.' Apparently Wright felt then that Obama had not 'kept the faith' with him.
During his speech to the NAACP, Wright paid Obama a left-handed compliment, suggesting that his middle name (which Wright repeated at least twice at that point) is a function of language, and that there are Arabic speakers of all religions. What that did was to remind voters of Obama's alleged (though completely unfounded) ties to Islamists, and of course to remind them once again of Saddam Hussein (the first person most people associate with the name) and subliminally link Obama to him.
Obama in the end did the only thing he can do now-- he repudiated and rejected Wright completely, something he refused to do in his Philadelphia speech on race.
But let's make this clear for what it is. Jeremiah Wright, for personal reasons, wanted to do everything he could to harm Barack Obama. And now Obama has turned off the pipeline back to him, so whatever Wright says from now on won't have anything at all to do with Obama.