May 3, 2008

Reality clearly has no place in politics. Because no matter how many times Barack Obama disavows Rev. Wright's words, the GOP and by extension, their complicit allies in the media (that's right, Russert, I'm talking about you) will not let it go and will continue to measure Obama by Rev. Wright's words. The crazy part about it is how for the most part, Wright hasn't said anything that most Americans--if they ever got to hear the full thing in context--would disagree with. Nor are they any more inflammatory than words spoken by conservative Christians leaders like Hagee, Robertson or Falwell. Yet, despite these facts, as the Meter Question on The Chris Matthews Show prove, the media is not ready to let this one go.

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Matthews asks his panel of Andrea Morehead, Kim Genardo and Michael Duffy whether the GOP will continue to make Wright an issue. Listen carefully to their responses, because it absolutely is a microcosm of the media narratives that refuse to be broken. Duffy knows the GOP will use it (duh, look at NC), but John McCain is above it all (gotta love that Media/McSame Man-love). Morehead acknowledges that Barack Obama has tried to separate himself from Wright and focus on his platform, but Genardo just doesn't think it's enough.

Duffy: There’s no question they’ll come after him any way they can. And everyone who supports Obama will get a version of this too. They’ll be asked to account for it, they’ll be asked to put some distance between them. McCain himself will probably say something like “I’m not going to make Rev. Wright’s views an issue,” but he’s made it already clear that he disagrees with him, so I think you can expect the entire Republican establishment to make this issue #1—unless something better comes along.

Matthews: Can a brilliant politician – Barack included, perhaps, perhaps – turn this around? Can he show that he’s different? So different from the Rev. Wright that he should be elected President?

Morehead: I think he’s already shown that. He’s already said before that he does not believe what Wright said, he was at church—was not at church that day. But obviously, he’s someone who says, “I want to bring the country together, let’s get beyond this issue of being divisive. Let’s talk about what we have more in common than what we have in terms of our differences,” So I think he’s going to be able to use this as a way to bring the country together, as opposed to using this as a division the Republicans and McCain are trying to use this for.

Matthews: Does everyone agree with that? That he can turn this around or he’s just going to have to cut his losses?

Genardo: I don’t. I interviewed him the other day and I don’t think he distanced himself far enough from his pastor, actually telling me all the great things he had done on the South Side of Chicago. Rev. Wright, that is. I don’t know, politically, you’d think he’d have to come out and really condemn his remarks and I know we already got him—got rid of him on his faith and values team, but is that enough? I don’t think so.

By the way, despite what the media will have you believe, Rev. Wright doesn't even rate on top issues for voters. But hey, that would mean doing their job and actually not just play mouthpiece for Republicans.

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