I suggested in my last posting that the blessed Reverend Wright was actually doing harm, deliberately doing harm, to Barack Obama's candidacy. The pastor, for all his love of Jesus, has little love for Obama, one of Jesus's truly humble servants. Only the Right Reverend Bill Moyers (no, he was not always a TV celeb or LBJ's hatchet man either) could sit down with this rough social gospel screamer and find theology and sensibility and spirituality in the persona. It may be the style of many black churches, as we are now being told by the self-anointed ambassadors of good will, but -- if it is -- pity those worshippers who want quietly to commune with God.

Obama returned to the subject foisted upon him by Jeremiah Wright, and he tried once again to show that he did not choose to have American politics be assumed as a battle over enemy territory. There is some nobility in the effort, a nobility akin to Abraham Lincoln's. It is a disposition that many Republicans used to honor and many Democrats, too: you may disagree, disagree over significant matters, but you try to found common ground. Obama is the last Democrat standing who still believes there is common ground, and I dream that when he and John McCain finally face each other without Hillary Clinton in the mix they will be speaking from different podiums but across common ground.

This afternoon, Obama took to his own defense and even went on the offense with his preacher. But Wright is a side-show, a freak side-show that is propped up by other black hustlers -- Cornell West comes to mind, ok, a philosophical black hustler -- who are afraid that Obama has so deeply touched a nerve among white Americans that they will soon be out of work forever.