Richard Cohen Suggests Obama Has A 'Farrakhan Test,' Obama Responds

03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Democratic frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have vowed to make nice and heal the racial rift that has lately erupted in the race for the Democratic nomination. But Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen must not have gotten the memo, because today, he offered his own flailing, inane take on the matter in an article titled, "Obama's Farrakhan Test."

Displaying the same sort of reasoning that made "Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon" such a popular concept for six, even seven, minutes back in the late 1990s, here's how Cohen arrives at the standpoint that Obama has a "Farrakhan test" to take. Obama worships at the Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ. That church's minister, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., also publishes a magazine. That magazine gave Louis Farrakhan an award once. So, ergo, Barack Obama totally hates the Jews.

Cohen notes that "nothing in Obama's record suggests he harbors anti-Semitic views or agrees with Wright when it comes to Farrakhan." He also notes that David Axelrod has averred that Obama and Wright "sometimes disagree." He goes on to confirm that the Farrakhan award is "one of those instances." He finally concludes: "I don't for a moment think that Obama shares Wright's views on Farrakhan." Uhm...okay! Case closed? Naturally, there's a "but."

"But the rap on Obama is that he is a fog of a man. We know little about him, and, for all my admiration of him, I wonder about his mettle." This would be a fair point in macro, but on the matter of Obama's opinion of Farrakhan, Cohen himself has duly recorded the candidate's unfogging!

Larded with a thoroughly pedantic recital of Martin Luther King and multiple violations of Godwin's Law, the whole piece is an identity politics cheap shot masquerading as high-minded outrage. It's a masterwork of tortured logic, to boot, seeing as the available facts suggest that it's Wright who has explaining to do, not the candidate. Having received confirmation that he doesn't agree with Wright's stance on Farrakhan, what more does Cohen expect Obama to do to make his position clear? Will this statement suffice?

I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan. I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decisions with which I agree.

So there you go, Mr. Cohen! But hey, since we're talking about allegiances and the six-degrees-of-separation concept, maybe you could take up the matter of Clinton surrogate Robert Johnson and his history of providing minority veneer to all sorts of bad Bush administration policies. Because that seems to still be a little foggy.

YOU MAY LIKE