Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Obama and relationships

You don’t have to poke around the Obama website very much before you encounter his campaign talking about “bringing people together” and “bipartisanship” and working on consensus.

Barack is the great leader who will sit down with our former enemies and walk out allies.

Or so he says.

How did he do when it came to Reverend Wright and managing that relationship? Here was his former pastor going out of control and damaging his campaign. How did Obama deal with that?

Well, first of all, he ignored it. That worked for several months before Hillary picked it up as a weapon.

Then he was forced to face the music. There was no deniability on this one. Anyone with a computer could see Jeremiah on the fringes of the way black churches operate.

So, Obama went out there and tried to make lemonade. His message was one of loyalty to his preacher. Noble thought, that. He should have defended his grandmother as well, but she wasn’t likely to cause him trouble.

And he gave a nice discourse on race in America. I’m told that many people liked it.

Well, Reverend Wright went on a pre-book deal tour this week and made headlines for two days. His message was the same as always. This time Obama did a 180 and spoke out against Wright. He got specific and disagreed with his message. And he very openly ended the relationship.

The words of JFKs press secretary Pierre Salinger come to mind: “Quit when you’re still behind.” That quote was concerning a much simpler issue in the Kennedy White House where the press was being critical of spending for an elaborate party. Salinger tried to defend what Kennedy had done but could see that it was a losing battle.

Obama didn’t see the fallout from this one. He kept digging the hole deeper instead of calling an end to it.

So, let’s say Barack wins in November. He’s got to deal with North Korea’s Kim Il-sung or Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He won’t have three tries to get it right. He may not even get in the door to work his relationship magic.

If he has this much trouble with his own pastor, how will he ever manage our enemies?

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