A firestorm has erupted over (a) Geraldine Ferraro's comment that Senator Obama would not have been so successful in the Democratic race if he were not a Black man; and (b) the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's fiery sermons (link, link) that folks like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity (video) and Clinton supporters on various blogs (e.g. blog on TNR) find appallingly racist and hateful. Ms Ferraro has finally left the Clinton campaign (after a few days and after crying reverse-racism - "they're attacking me because I'm white") The Rev. Wright (who recently retired as Pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ) has also left the Obama campaign.
First, here is Senator Obama denouncing the specific comments made by the Rev. Wright that US foreign policy was responsible for the 9/11 attack. In video form:
A Clinton supporter, long-time donor and Washington caucus state delegate is disgusted with the Clinton campaign and is leaving Senator Clinton's side.
A Chicago Tribune editorial says both Ms Ferraro and the Rev. Wright were merely exercising their First Amendment rights. The candidates themselves are not to blame, but the editorial says the candidates' reactions are more important, to see how they would deal with adverse situations. "No-Drama Obama has been playing the Ferraro comment with appropriate cool.... Clinton, by contrast, has been clumsier."
Over at WaPo, Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, President of the Chicago Theological Seminary, says Ms Ferraro is wrong, calling the controversial remarks the (Catholic-defined) human sin of "willful ignorance." She goes on to compare the American experience with slavery against the German response to the Holocaust; the Germans are trying to force themselves to face their horrifying past, while Americans try to deny racism is still prevalent, much of it directed against Blacks.
[UPDATE] Melinda Henneberger, over at The XX Factor on Slate.com, says - about the Obama-Wright connection - we all have friends who are nutty. She goes on to mention the less-than-perfect pastors behind Senators McCain (televangelist John Hagee, anti-Catholic, and Rev. Rod Parsley, war-on-Islam) and Clinton (Rev. Billy Graham, antisemite). She also points out that since Senator Obama probably knew the Rev. Wright was controversial, he likely remained a member of the Church out of non-political reasons. [END UPDATE]
Finally, this is not the first time Ms Ferraro has accused a Black candidate as getting an easy ride/being successful because he was Black. The Rev. Jesse Jackson responded, "Millions of Americans have a point of view different from" Ferraro's." Perhaps most tellingly:
"We campaigned across the South . . . without a single catcall or boo. It was not until we got North to New York that we began to hear this from Koch, President Reagan and then Mrs. Ferraro . . . . Some people are making hysteria while I'm making history."