Obama: It's All About Me, Me, Meeeee


Is it me, or did you also feel that Barack Obama's responses to the series of comments by Reverend Jeremiah Wright were overly focused on, well, how Wright had personally dissed Barack Obama and his campaign?

Here are some samples:

The fact that Reverend Wright would think that somehow it was appropriate to command the stage for three or four consecutive days in the midst of this major debate is something that not only makes me angry, but also saddens me.

At a certain point, if what somebody says contradicts what you believe so fundamentally, and then he questions whether or not you believe it in front of the National Press Club, then that's enough. That's a show of disrespect to me. It's also, I think, an insult to what we've been trying to do in this campaign.

Whatever relationship I had with Reverend Wright has changed as a consequence of this. I don't think that he showed much concern for me. More importantly, I don't think he showed much concern for what we're trying to do in this campaign and what we're trying to do for the American people.

Of course, Obama is entitled to defend himself, especially when Wright basically accused Obama of being a hypocrite in his so-called "race speech" in Philadelphia. However, for the candidate to repeatedly suggest that the problem with Wright is one of personal affront, of disrespect for Obama and his campaign, is to miss the point that voters will see things in a decidedly less self-centered light. For them, what Wright says reflects a worldview, a worldview Obama apparently managed to live with for some 20 years. They won't see the episode as just a thing between Obama and Wright.

In fact, Obama might have inadvertently confirmed what Wright told the National Press Club audience a few days ago, when he spoke about how Obama had distanced himself from the reverend: "He didn't distance himself. He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was anti-American."

Obama's latest comments echo those very same thoughts: His priority is clearly (and understandably) to save his campaign, but much less to determine what Wright's comments really tell us about the relationship between blacks and whites in America. But that's what many voters are interested in, because Obama's attitude on race relations will say a lot about whether he's presidential material. Instead, all they see today is someone nonplussed that Wright showed so little personal concern for him.