Didn't Obama See This Coming?

Barack Obama, who took on the candidate of experience, has gambled that the voters will choose leadership and judgment instead. He's gotten this far because many of them did. But as he struggles to try to stop Hillary Clinton, the story of his controversial pastor will raise questions about Obama's leadership and judgment in the critical contests to come.

To suggest that Obama wasn't aware, during his 20 years at Trinity United Church of Christ and his close relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., that the man had made anti-American, anti-white and pro-Palestinian statements would require — to borrow the words Clinton used with Gen. David Petraeus about the success of the surge — “a willing suspension of disbelief.”
Certainly, Obama should be given the benefit of the doubt as a parishioner; people often arrive and then remain at church for numerous and convoluted reasons they cannot always precisely recall later on.

Moreover, the role of the individual within the flock is a murky one. Many of us have simultaneously disagreed with or been thoroughly unimpressed by a church leader while feeling at home in that church. However, Obama chose Wright to marry him and his wife Michelle, and then again to baptize their two daughters. Obama chose not to give Wright a public role at the announcement of his presidential campaign last February, but he placed Wright in an honorary position on a religion committee within the campaign.

All of these decisions, in light of the revelations about Wright, are now significant. What does the leadership of the Rev. Wright at their church and in the Obama family say about the judgment of Obama? Now that the new pastor, the Rev. Otis Moss III, handed out statements at Trinity United Church of Christ this weekend defending Wright from being “assassinated in the public sphere,” Obama may have to answer questions from wary working-class white Democrats in Pennsylvania about his church's black liberation theology.

I have a question, too: Didn't Obama see this coming?
***
HOW BAD IS THE PASTOR PROBLEM FOR OBAMA? ASK A.B. returns tomorrow, March 18. Please join my weekly video Q & A by sending useful, interesting and entertaining questions to askab@thehill.com.