If you were wondering when the rightwing was gonna go after swiftboating Barack Obama, you might want to check out the WSJ's version today. The interesting thing is that, as I cruised through the progressive blogs today, I didn't see anything in the way of a defense, or even a mention of it happening. It seems eerily similar to mid-August 2004.
Jerome is wrong on the facts, since Wright has been discussed all over the blogs since this broke. Obama himself responded on the Huffington Post.
But he is not wrong on the larger point, which is that no one has mounted an effective defense for Obama against this attack. There's been a good amount of pontificating about whether Wright said the right thing or the wrong thing, but the real organizing and journalism in the progressive blogosphere has been focused on fighting Bush and the telecom industry on wiretapping. If Obama had led on this or any other fight, we could easily make the argument that the Wright discussion is a distraction from his leadership qualities and badgered various elites for their lack of focus on substance. But now there really is no argument. Wright is saying things that are politically difficult for Obama the brand to handle. They are stupid, Obama's a good candidate and he should not be held accountable for what his pastor says. Has Bush or McCain or Kerry or Clinton been held accountable for the speeches of their religious leader? Of course not.
But Obama is not a part of any progressive fights, so there's no independent organizing going on on his behalf from people who actually understand the right-wing media and how it operates. He's decided he's a post-partisan politician, and when a politician makes that choice, it's not just a disincentive for partisans to fight for that person. It becomes structurally impossible to fight for him because the incentives get all out of whack.