He’s back. And this time, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright threatens to engulf President Obama in a major scandal - one that could doom his re-election. Edward Klein in his recent biography of Mr. Obama, “The Amateur,” interviewed Mr. Wright about the president’s past. On tape and on the record, Mr. Wright claims that in 2008, the Obama campaign offered $150,000 to buy his silence. If this is true - and I stress if - Mr. Obama may have committed a crime, and if so, he should be prosecuted and sent to prison. Wrightgate could bring down the Obama presidency.
America was introduced to Mr. Wright in the spring of 2008. The racist, America-hating pastor quickly became an embarrassment to then-candidate Barack Obama. The more cable TV shows endlessly looped Mr. Wright’s extremist, bigoted tirades, the more of a political liability he became to the Obama campaign. Mr. Obama was in full panic; the long association with his radical pastor threatened to derail the Democratic nominee’s chances to defeat Sen. John McCain. Mr. Klein says that according to Mr. Wright, the Obama campaign sent an emissary. The goal: to bribe Mr. Wright in exchange for his agreement to disappear from public view until after the election.
In particular, Mr. Wright alleges that Dr. Eric Whitaker, a close Obama friend, sent an email proposing $150,000 to muzzle the pastor; Mr. Wright says he refused. (The Obama administration recently awarded a $6 million grant to the University of Chicago Medical Center’s Urban Health Initiative. Who runs the initiative? You guessed it: Dr. Whitaker.) Then, Mr. Wright claims, Mr. Obama personally visited him, urging the pastor to remain silent and do nothing that would cripple the Obama candidacy.
According to Mr. Klein, Mr. Wright directly contradicts Mr. Obama’s narrative of having little contact with Trinity United Church. Instead, Mr. Wright alleges that he was Mr. Obama’s close spiritual and political adviser, someone who for more than 20 years shaped the future president’s worldview. In fact, the pastor claims that he was like “a second father” to Mr. Obama.
Furthermore, Mr. Wright says Mr. Obama possessed an “Islamic background” and despite his conversion to Christianity has never abandoned his Muslim roots. In short, Mr. Wright appears to be confirming what I have argued for years: Mr. Obama is a cultural Muslim whose Christianity is deeply tied to black liberation theology - the belief that America and the West have an evil, imperialist civilization bent on oppressing the Third World.
Mr. Wright’s comments beg a fundamental question: Why now? Why is he speaking out about Mr. Obama at this moment? The racial firebrand admits he feels burned; Mr. Obama threw him under the bus to win the 2008 election. Mr. Wright is bitter and angry. Yet what if he is telling the truth? He has injected himself into the center of a potential political storm.
This is why his allegations must be investigated. House Republicans should demand that Congress subpoena Mr. Wright and force him to testify under oath - especially about his claims that the Obama campaign offered $150,000 to buy him off. Congressional investigators need to subpoena Dr. Whitaker as well and track down his supposed emails in which the offer was made. If true, the Obama team violated campaign laws and maybe worse.
Mr. Wright’s charges are possibly the tip of the iceberg, exposing the vast corruption at the heart of the administration’s Chicago-style politics. Who else has been offered cash in exchange for complicity?
Moreover, Mr. Obama’s Islamic roots are becoming increasingly apparent - despite the best efforts of the liberal media to cover this up. In 2008, any questions raised about his Muslim heritage were denounced as “Islamophobic” and beyond the pale. For example, I was accused by the New York Times of waging a smear campaign. Mr. Wright has shown that they were wrong. The evidence was there for all to see. It was obvious. Mr. Obama’s father and stepfather were Muslim; Mr. Obama attended a madrassa in Indonesia; as a boy, he studied the Koran; he has openly admitted that the “most beautiful sound” is the Muslim call for evening prayer (not, say, the “Star-Spangled Banner”); he frequently refers to Islam as a “revealed religion” while denigrating Christianity; and he claims that America is a “post-Christian” nation.
Mr. Obama’s powerful sympathies for the Islamic world explain much of his foreign policy - apologizing for American behavior in the Middle East, appeasing Iran, engaging in long-term nation-building in Afghanistan, abandoning Iraq, supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, empowering radical Islamists in Libya, backing the disastrous Arab Spring and the relentless undermining of Israel. In short, Mr. Obama is the true protege of Mr. Wright: an anti-colonial, anti-Western radical leftist who seeks to use U.S. power in the service of the Arab street. In many ways, he is our first Muslim president.
Therefore, it would be a great irony of history if the pastor who baptized Mr. Obama’s children, presided over his marriage to Michelle, guided his conversion to black liberation theology and spent more than two decades as his spiritual and religious mentor turns out to be the man who triggers the president’s downfall. Maybe Mr. Obama cannot outrun his past, after all.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.