Monday, April 28, 2008

SOME GET STONED, SOME GET STRANGE, SOONER OR LATER IT ALL GETS REAL, WALK ON. Jeremiah Wright says, "I said to Barack Obama, last year, 'If you get elected, November the 5th, I'm coming after you, because you'll be representing a government whose policies grind under people.'" Barack Obama says, "[Wright] does not speak for me... He does not speak for the campaign." So reporters and commentators have them twinned as never before.

Obama wore a flag pin the other day, so there is more news than ever about his refusal to wear a flag pin.

The conventional wisdom is that Obama has to do something drastic about all this -- maybe hit Wright with a blackjack, or go around dressed as Captain America. But under this kind of ridiculous hazing, there's really not much he can do. Though he may try and paint the corners now and again, Obama is clearly disinclined toward the grand renunciatory gestures the press has prescribed for him. I suspect he realizes that this course could fatally derail his Presidential run, but would rather fail going forward than in retreat.

We think of these crises as a test for Obama, but as things are currently playing out, they strike me as more of a test of our politics -- that is, of whether we are so fatally addicted to sideshows that we can't have a national election about even the most pressing national issues. Obama's political fortunes, or those of any candidate, are small potatoes compared to that.

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