Jeremiah Wright made a speech recently, as well as answer questions put to him by the National Press Club. The actual content of his speech and replies to any questions are irrelevant in this article. It does not matter how good or bad his input was, one thing is clear at this stage. If he is any kind of friend to Barack Obama, he should just shut up publicly for a while and let the dust settle.
I am not advocating muzzling of anyone. I am not trying to deny anyone their free speech. No doubt, quite a few people got a better measure of the man in his latest speech because he was praised by a few commentators in Racists Can't Read or Wright. So the merits of whatever he said is not the main point here. What is more important is that Jeremiah Wright came to national prominence because of Barack Obama. He might have been well known in some circles already, but nationally he was relatively unknown. Obama is a new guy on the block running for president, desperately trying to change things in his own way. Headstrong Jeremiah Wright appears to do things in his own way too, which many people view as divisive, at odds with the 'unity' approach that Obama daily espouses. The press has spotted a fissure between the two men, an anomaly in their association of differing messages, and is hoping to milk that as much as possible in the campaign. It means that everything Wright says at this sensitive time, when the two main contenders for the Democratic nomination are in a fierce battle, will be quoted, requoted and dissected ad nauseam. Free speech or not, the only effect of Jeremiah Wright's words at these crucial moments will be to take the attention away from Obama when he really needs it.
As an unknown quantity to many Americans, Barack Obama is still trying to win over many hearts and minds. Sensible people, who have minds of their own, and who will not follow the lemming instinct, will be able to sort Barack from Wright in their own clear way and make their decisions. But the majority of people in our world are followers, they are not leaders with independent minds. Thus they are likely to be influenced as much by the 'good' people as by the 'bad' ones with their agendas. Barack needs that uninterrupted opportunity to get those key messages to the waverers, to discuss the real issues which are bothering voters and to allow people to make up their minds for themselves. When Wright keeps hogging the limelight with unhelpful speeches which detract from Obama's message, it really is not good. In fact, it shows a selfish person who is only thinking of himself at this important time. One who is intent on challenging Obama in a public spectacle which serves mainly to distract Obama from the task at hand and alienate even more people.
It really is time for Jeremiah Wright to slink back into the background and stop the pronouncements. That's the only way to deprive the press of its oxygen on that front and allow Barack Obama to stand by his own message, or fall by the wayside, uninterrupted, as his rivals are currently doing without anyone else impeding their journey. Whether he accepts it or not, Jeremiah Wright is getting in the way of Barack Obama's message, taking up media time and attention which Obama should be getting. If Wright genuinely wants him to be the nominee then the time for his silence is now.