E.J. Dionne has some sensible thoughts in today's Gazette about Jeremiah Wright and the possibility that a double standard exists between right- and left-wing preachers.
I think there is something to that, but why limit it to preachers? Does anybody even know what sort of things the pastors of Hillary Clinton and John McCain may have been spouting from the pulpit over the last 20 years? Does anyone even know if they go to church?
It isn't just preachers who say outrageously dumb things. On the same page as today's Dionne column, Cal Thomas wrote: "if Democrats care about the poor, why haven’t they solved the problem of poverty? And the answer to that is that Democrats need people to remain poor and, thus, dependent on them so they can get their votes."
Just think for a moment about the sheer idiocy of that sentence. For one thing, Jesus himself said we would always have the poor with us. So if he couldn't solve poverty, what makes Thomas think Democrats can?
More seriously, if Thomas is to be believed, then Democrats must actually think that Republican policies are the key to ending poverty, yet Democrats reject those policies and instead adopt policies they know won't work because they think it's good politics to have a lot of poor people. Given a choice between believing what Thomas wrote and what the Rev. Wright said about the government spreading HIV, I'm endorsing the HIV theory.
Yet Thomas will no doubt continue on his merry way, embraced by Republicans, invited on talk shows, still columnizing, all without consequence. Or, of course, you have Rush Limbaugh calling for riots in Denver. Has Wright said anything more anti-American than that? And you have talk show host Bill Cunningham, who has repeatedly called Obama a Bolshevik or worse.
I'm not blaming McCain for Thomas, Limbaugh or Cunningham. He has done his best to distance himself from them, and they have little use for him. But if we are going after people in the public eye for saying crazy things, why focus so much on Wright? There is a lot of crazy stuff out there, and many of those saying it have a much bigger megaphone than Wright does.
UPDATE: But perhaps McCain should have to answer for this (h/t Andrew Sullivan).
UPDATE 2: And this pretty well sums up my thoughts on the entire subject.