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Robert J. Elisberg Headshot

The Stupidest Man in America

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For the past week, I'm been trying to come up with a topper, but I haven't been able to. The competition for "Most Stupid" is fierce, but after Tuesday #1 remains untouched.

No, George Bush doesn't make that lofty height. Sure, appearing on TV game shows, dancing and doing comedy shtick at banquets during a war is pretty stupid, but it's more insensitive, thoughtless and crude.

Hillary Clinton would get votes for her tarmac fake-recollections and fake-chugging, but pandering doesn't fully qualify as stupidity.

Barack Obama had his stupid "bitter" moment. But not coming up with a synonym warmer and fuzzier than "bitter" is mainly careless.

John McCain has a smorgasbord of stupid comments, from repeatedly misidentifying al-Qaeda to "100 years" and "Bomb-Bomb-Iran." But these are more intentional ploys, than pure stupid.

Of course, there are several young, female pop singers and actresses who could make the Olympics of Stupidity. However, those are circus-geek stupid.

In the end, the most stupid person in America remains Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

What's impressive about Reverend Wright's world-class stupidity is that you don't even have to know what he said, and stupidity doesn't get much more profound than that. It's like watching a movie when they only show the horrified reaction of others running out of a room screaming -- you may not know what terrible thing went on inside, you just know it was really scary.

Given Reverend Wright's calling, he obviously knows well the song, "He Has the Whole World in His Hands." Reverend Wright had the whole world in his hands. And he ignored his own teaching. He let it fall through his fingers.

For all the words used to describe his actions, therein above all lies his stupidity.

There is only one reason anyone, anywhere cares what Reverend Wright has to say, outside of his church. And even his church probably doesn't care much anymore, since he's now retired. It's the only reason anyone is uploading videos of him on the Internet, why journalists are interviewing him, why networks are putting him on the TV. The one reason is basic: he was Barack Obama's pastor. Period.

And he pissed off his meal ticket. For no reason.

Like us all, Reverend Wright is entitled to his opinions. Some may be profound, some lunatic. Whatever. They're his opinions. To each his own.

Most of us though don't have CNN sticking a camera in our face to present those opinions to the world. Reverend Wright did. What an opportunity! Imagine if whatever you thought about the world, about religion, about who should play quarterback, about where the WMD really are hidden, about anything, would be broadcast everywhere. Everyone hanging on what you had to say next. The influence you would have. The importance. The status.

Reverend Jeremiah Wright had all that. And all he had to do was clench his teeth for six months. And he couldn't handle that. He didn't have to be silent, he could have talked about religion and race and who should win the Oscar. Just not the loony stuff. And he couldn't handle that.

If Barack Obama wins the national election, Jeremiah Wright would have been "Pastor to the President of United States." Whatever he said, cameras would be perched outside his front door. He could have set up a TV Network pool in his den, for all anyone cared. Every word of his beamed to the waiting, if occasionally incredulous world.

All the Reverend Wright had to do is wait for six months. Six months. And the world was his. He's an adult, he's mature, he's a very smart fellow, he could do it.

Except he couldn't. He just couldn't help himself. He had to yammer. He had to have the attention. He had to yell out now, NOW, just because he could. It's like he had no filter. This has been like watching a three-year-old pounding the floor "I want it now!!!! Me Me Me!!! Noowwwwww!" As a result, he's getting his message out -- but it's going to last 15 minutes, not eight years. And it's already lost any meaning, after just four of those minutes. He had eight years of attention awaiting him, from the biggest platform imaginable. Pastor to the President of the United States.

Man, talk about a real bully pulpit.

Just think: he was pastor to Barack Obama. The one reason anyone cared what he had to say. The only person in the world you want to keep on your good side. Not the person you want to have say that your comments "offend me, rightly offend all Americans, and they should be denounced. That's what I'm doing very clearly and unequivocally today."

Reverend Jeremiah Wright had the whole world in his hands, people waiting to listen to his every thought about faith and race. It's an opportunity most people can only dream about. And he had the dream. Something he must have waited his whole life for. And he couldn't wait six months.

Jeremiah Wright is an accomplished man. A Bachelor's degree, two Masters degrees, a Doctorate. And he was a Marine.

He was a Marine. Where in the world did all that discipline go?

Semper fie.