Wow, a huge swing and a miss by James Taranto

Taranto is one of our favorite writers and that’s why we feature his blog, Best of the Web Today, on our exclusive blogroll. But he had us blinking with amazement today, with this:

[Jesse] Jackson is impossibly compromised in this matter, because at the root of Mr. Clinton’s comment is the recognition that Jackson stands for something loathsome–something that Obama has repudiated.

Jesse Jackson is not a racial healer but an ambulance chaser. He has made his career exploiting black insecurity and white guilt, seizing on racial disputes and misunderstandings to profit financially and enhance his own status. If racial disharmony disappeared tomorrow, Jackson would be out of a job.

In this sense–the sense that is most important to Jackson’s political identity–Obama is Jackson’s opposite. He has emerged as a national political figure, and a plausible prospective president, by calling for unity, not by seeking to take advantage of division.

Well, yes, Obama is calling for unity, and so did Jackson with his chant about “common ground.” And what candidate for president would ever call for disunity?

But the fact is that Obama belongs to a racist church that goes way beyond anything espoused by Jesse Jackson. If a white candidate belonged to a church with an equivalent message he would immediately and justifiably be denounced as a racist. Is Taranto buying into the racist claim that blacks cannot be racists? Or is he simply buying into Obama’s version of that old line, “who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

And this isn’t simply a case where Obama walked into a neighborhood church one day and dozed off during the sermon. He has been a member of this Afrocentrist, black nationalist congregation for 20 years, and counts his racist pastor among his close advisors.

Taranto needs to go back and take a second look at the situation. Because while he’s condemning Jackson for his racial ambulance chasing, he’s ignoring Obama’s commitment to a racialist “theology” that is diametrically opposed to “unity.”

Further, this is nothing that Obama can simply walk away from. He can’t say, “Oh, I worshipped there for two decades, got married there, but I reject everything the church and its pastor stand for.” Nor is this something that can be finessed, unless serious political writers like Taranto go in the tank for it.

Giving Obama a pass on this would redouble the practice of withholding criticism of blacks, and quadruple the pass that Democrats routinely give to the Clintons. This is not just about what church someone goes to, it’s about the racism that church teaches and how long Obama has sat and listened to that teaching without getting up and finding another church.

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