[Guest post by DRJ]
We let close friends and family say things to us that we would reject from others. Maybe that explains why Chicago Sun Times’ columnist Carol Marin feels free to speak bluntly with Barack Obama about Jeremiah Wright:
“What took Barack Obama so long? Yes, the “old uncle who says things I don’t always agree with” is no longer welcome for dinner. That was the Illinois senator’s urgently delivered message about his fiery former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whom he had previously denounced but not, until Tuesday, disowned.
What the presidential candidate from Chicago had to say was strongly worded, solemn and angry. It was powerful and personal. But it still raises the question of his response time. In political terms, this was a 3 a.m. phone call that went into voice mail.“
Marin notes that Obama had nothing new to say on Monday after Wright’s National Press Club speech. It was only on Tuesday, after a day of bad press and polls, that Obama forcefully responded. Marin speculates this reflects as much about Obama’s judgment as his ability to act decisively:
“On Tuesday, after Obama’s stinging denunciation of Wright, a reporter asked why he couldn’t have said all of that on the tarmac? Because, said the candidate, he “hadn’t seen it.” Memo to staff: Please keep presidential hopeful posted.
This isn’t the first time the campaign has waited out a problem, declining to take a controversy by the horns.
It took a relentless chorus of Chicago media almost a year to finally get Obama and his people to deliver long-asked-for documents and answer what were, at best, incompletely answered questions about his former friend and now-indicted fund-raiser, Tony Rezko. He finally did so in March.
There are judgment questions, fair ones, to be asked about Obama’s past dealings with controversial people. On Tuesday, his answers about Wright were filled with a purpose and passion that seemed to have been lacking lately.
But what those answers have yet to resolve is the matter of decisiveness, of acting quickly, speaking forcefully, and perhaps not waiting for overnight polling numbers or a full-blown disaster, to decide the next day’s course.”
We don’t always make good decisions in life but it’s often worse to succumb to indecision. Refusing to make a decision is still a decision.