As you know, the Watcher’s Council represents the cutting edge of political thought in the blogosphere. You already read their weekly offerings on the issues and if you’re really on the ball, read their incisive and stimulating sites.
With that in mind, as a regular item we’re going to feature Council members (and some very interesting non-Council guests) presenting short takes on the day’s important issues as they come up.
The man President Obama described as his ‘pastor’ and his spiritual mentor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, was quickly thrown overboard once Reverend Wright’s anti-semitic statements, long time association with people like Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam and certain views on America, 9/11 and race in general surfaced.
Lately, the Reverend Wright has surfaced again thanks to a new book on President Obama entitled ‘The Amateur’ which includes some candid interviews by writer Ed Klein, including a statement by Reverend Wright that the Obama campaigned bribed him with $150,000 to keep a low profile during the campaign.
President Obama’s media allies have been quick to weigh in that discussing Reverend Wright is injecting race into the campaign and other pundits have said that discussing Reverend Wright is an off-message distraction.
With this in mind, today the Watcher’s Council weighs in on: “Jeremiah Wright: Fair game in 2012 or a distraction better avoided?”
Rhymes With Right: I agree with Mitt Romney’s decision to call for supporters not to run adds featuring Wright and his church. Because I think it is the right move for a guy whose religion has been repeatedly attacked from the Left and who made a serious address about religious freedom in 2007.
The Glittering Eye: In order to be elected president, Mitt Romney must accomplish three things: he must induce President Obama to run on his record, he must look presidential and he must paint a brighter picture of America and its future than President Obama does. Going after the president’s lengthy relationship with his pastor does nothing to further any of those goals and, indeed, provides the Obama Campaign with yet another distraction from the singular real issue: do the last four years deserve another four years? It’s a distraction.
Simply Jews: Yes. Wrap him up in the famous birth certificate and stick them both under the bed. For a while, at least.
The Noisy Room: While I do believe Jeremiah Wright is a distraction, he is definitely fair game in 2012 and should be totally vetted. The bribery insinuations on the tapes that Sean Hannity put out should be front page news. It goes to motive so-to-speak. I believe everything should come out and when it does, it will go down in history that Barack Obama is the most corrupt, manipulated President the United States has ever put in office. Jeremiah Wright is a reprehensible human being, but he tends to tell the truth, at least how he sees it I believe. I want the word ‘transparency’ to be applied to the hilt concerning Obama and if Wright can assist with that goal, bring it. Let Obama’s chickens come home to roost.
The Independent Sentinel: I don’t believe it would be helpful for Mitt Romney to bring up Reverend Wright. It didn’t work four years ago and, now, four years later, Rev. Wright is less relevant. It would serve as a distraction from the issues today, which are bad enough – we need to concentrate on our future as Greece. A Mitt Romney talking about Rev. Wright would look like a candidate without a platform.
JoshuaPundit: I think Reverend Wright, along with a number of other openly racist intimates of this president (Al Sharpton comes to mind) are very much fair game. Just not by Mitt Romney. That’s what Super-Pacs are for. Reverend Wright, Al Sharpton, Tony Rezko, Louis Farrakhan, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, the president’s record as a rabid fan of infanticide with a position more extreme than NARAL’s, the questionable deeds and possible felonies his administration has been a part of (Fast and Furious, the suppression of the military vote, attempting to bribe Democrat candidates to drop out of primaries against Democrat incumbents, etc.) are all a part of his record and whom he is that the president’s lackeys in the media ignored in 2006. The American people have the right to look at these matters and decide whom they want to lead them.
The Colossus of Rhodey: I would “skate around the edges” on Wright until and unless it was absolutely necessary to go all in on the matter. If a desperate Obama campaign decides to delve into Romney’s Mormonism, then by all means the Romney camp should open up the Wright issue with no holds barred. And the obvious retort to charges of racism for bringing up Wright is to point out the exact same: racism — the racism that Black Liberation Theology posits and use Obama’s own words from his book(s) against him. Unlike McCain in 2008, Romney *has* to be willing to get down and dirty if he wants to win. And using the Wright issue may be absolutely necessary.
David Gerstein: I’m not convinced that the bribe allegations amount to much; except for the guy who supposedly made them.
Bookworm Room: Jeremiah Wright is totally fair game in these elections — but Mitt is wise to stay above that fray and let his minions run after Wright. Let Mitt focus on strength and optimism, while others do the dirty work of exposing Obama’s questionable past (both in office and before).
The Right Planet: Absolutely, Jeremiah Wright is fair game, in my opinion! Why wouldn’t he be? Obama spent 20 years lapping up the vitriol in Wright’s alleged “church.” It says much about the character, morals and beliefs of a one Barack Hussein Obama. Obama and his campaign minions will trot out anything from Romney’s past–like a high school prank–if they think they can get mileage from it. Besides, since the MSM is loathe to give conservatives and republicans any air time at all, I think the Romney campaign had better keep everything on the table. Besides, I believe the more “controversial” you are as a republican or conservative, the more chances the MSM just might give it some air time. Now, having said that, I don’t think Romney should make Jeremiah Wright be the number one issue. The number one issue to me is the disastrous state of the economy. So reminding Americans of Obama’s failed record should be front and center, and Wright is part of Obama’s “record.” As to all the other records, where are they (e.g. transcripts, writings, school records, etc.)?
VA Right!: The issue of Jeremiah Wright is both fair game and a distraction. As such, Mitt Romney needs to be careful with the issue or the Mainstream Media will only be too happy to turn their focus on this sideshow. In 2008, the Mainstream Media was laser focused on the “Bush” economic problems. IT was not in the interest of “their” candidate to get sidetracked. So they avoided the topic. But now, four years later, they are looking for just such a distraction to avoid focusing on the Obama economy. Of course they will have to present the story in a way that will ridicule Romney for even bringing the matter up. And they will try to turn it around to Romney’s desire to avoid his record at Bain Capital and his wealth. Which is where the Obama campaign wants to focus. And the same goes for the newly discovered bio on Obama claiming he was born in Kenya.
Four years ago, John McCain avoided all of these side issues and focused on the economy and he lost the election. Obama was, at the time, the perfect storm of an inexperienced outsider with no record in a period where the electorate were in a foul mood, which they blamed on George W. Bush. In hindsight, perhaps McCain should have placed more emphasis on who Obama was and less on the economy. This election, in 2012, Obama does have a record and it is abysmal. It was the economy that was the deciding issue in 2008 and it still is. While it might have helped McCain to distract from the economy in 2008, the shoe is now on the other foot. Romney needs to keep the focus on the economy. It won in 2008 and it will decide the winner in 2012.