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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Obama Leaves Trinity: The Analysis

Barack Obama officially cut ties with Trinity United Church today. He sent a letter of resignation in yesterday.

Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have resigned their membership at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, after controversies stemming from the congregation created a persistent distraction for Obama’s campaign.

The furor started months ago with the sermons of his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. But Obama’s pastor problems were compounded this week by the Rev. Michael Pfleger, whose videotaped guest sermon at the church Sunday showed
him taunting Hillary Clinton and saying she felt “entitled” to the presidency because she’s white.

This was not only an astute political but like the only move, politically, for Obama to make at this point. The latest comments by Reverend Pflegger simply cemented the idea that the church would continue to be an albatross around his neck unless he did. The church is simply home to too much controversy and Obama couldn't go through the rest of the campaign waiting for the next shoe to drop.

Now, politically, he no longer has to answer for anything that is said there going forward. That certainly makes some sense, however the controversy surrounding his twenty year affiliation will not die down.

For the most part, the dynamic remains problematic for Barack Obama. While he maintained that he left the church because his association with it put undue burden on the church members and staff, we all understand that he left because it was simply untennable for him to stay. This is of course the ultimate political move by a candidate that claims that to be above politics. Furthermore, Obama continued to refer to Reverend Wright's speech at the National Press Club as the sort of tipping point. Except, nothing that Reverend Wright said at the NPC was any different from anything that we had heard in the so called "snippets" that Barack Obama said the media looped of Reverend Wright.

In other words, Barack Obama is frankly in a lose/lose situation here. What he did was politically expedient and everyone knows that. He will lose some points for that, however it was a lot less than waiting for the next inflammatory statement out of the church. The questions that have lingered regarding his twenty year relationship with Trinity United won't go away. What will go away is the fear of what will come out of the church next that he will have to distance himself from.

Nothing really changes from the Republicans point of view. I am of the opinion that the Republicans let the conservative 527's do their dirty work on this matter. If they can keep their distance from this and have it be an issue that is the best move politically. The best way to do that is to let unaffiliated 527's run with this story. In fact, the attacks just changed with this new news. The 527's can and should attack Obama for holding onto his 20 year relationship when it was politically expedient, and then dropping it just the same. The advertisements could even use Barack Obama's own statements of not being the "typical politician" against him right in the advertisement.

So, in conclusion, this was the right move and the only move, however the damage has already been done, and any astute political opponents will still be able to drive a Mack truck through the hole that this whole fiasco left.

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