You can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Sen. Obama has come pretty close, but now the sleight is getting out of hand.

Mark Steyn says the “rhetorical magic” isn’t working so well anymore.

Oddly enough, the shrewdest appraisal of the Senator’s
speechifying “magic” came from Jeremiah Wright himself. “He’s a
politician,” said the Reverend. “He says what he has to say as a
politician… He does what politicians do.”

The notion that the Amazing Obama might be just another politician
doing what politicians do seems to have affronted the senator more than
any of the stuff about America being no different from al-Qaeda and the
government inventing AIDs to kill black people.

This has been a major turning point for Obama, to state the obvious.
But it’s just been in the past day or so that news analysts and
pollsters actually question his ultimate ability to rebound from the
damaging week. Because it wasn’t just a misstep or carelessly chosen
words at a campaign stop that hurt him. It’s the fundamental questions
about his judgment and character and worldview. Hugh Hewitt asks a lot of them here. 

Michael Barone, who takes more care in mining polls than punditry, wonders if the bottom is falling out for Obama.

All the numbers in this deluge of polls tell the same
story. Not just liberal but also many conservative commentators said
that Obama’s speech on race March 18, in response to ABC News’s
broadcasting of excerpts from Wright’s sermons, had solved any problems
he had with voters, or at least with Democratic voters…The response to
Obama’s repudiation April 29, in response to Wright’s remarks April 28,
is clearly different.

One reason is that Obama now has taken two diametrically opposed
stands on the minister whose church he attended for 20 years, who
married him and his wife and baptized their children, whose sermon
inspired the title of his 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope. On March 18,
his response was: No, I cannot renounce my pastor. On April 29, his
response was: Yes, I can.

There’s more riding on North Carolina and Indiana Tuesday than
either state probably could have imagined in the early going, when
Obama was the runaway winner based on…not a lot more than his rhetoric,
actually. Now, his campaign may be off the rails, but it’s certainly
off topic.

A few pundits are still saying that Obama’s choice of
pastor is a distraction, an irrelevancy. But some voters, perhaps in
the belief that a president’s judgment and values have important
consequences, don’t agree.

Too bad these questions didn’t come up last January….at the latest.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....