Something peculiar happens, though, when someone speaks an actual, uncomfortable truth that people don't want to hear. If you disrupt a narrative that is already being stitched into the conventional wisdom, the response seems to be, "Don't distract me with the facts." This has happened at least three times during this long campaign, when surrogates for Obama have spoken the truth, but have either chosen poor words or spoken too bluntly for America to actually consider what they'd said.
Wesley Clark, June 2008: "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president." Translation: "Wesley Clark has criticized John McCain's patriotism!" His real point: military service is not the same thing as command experience, and does not entitle one to the presidency.
Jeremiah Wright, 2003 sermon: "The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme." Translation: "He said God damn America!" His real point: in the Bible, the prophets pronounced God's damnation on Israel when they did not care for the widows and orphans, or when the rich would grind the poor beneath their feet.
John Murtha, October 15, 2008: "There is no question that western Pennsylvania is a racist area." Translation: "How dare he accuse his own constituents of being racists!" His real point: Ummm, actually, most parts of the country are racist. Perhaps all areas. Murtha might've been speaking more truthfully than he imagined when he made this comment. The point is, let's not kid ourselves about the incredible uphill battle that Obama has been waging to win the confidence of working-class whites in rural areas.
So the next time there's a big media dust-up over someone's crazy comment - and you know it'll happen again soon - just pause for a second, and try to think through whether there might be any truth lurking beneath the surface-level outrage.