How Will 'SNL' Mock Reverend Wright? A Clapping School?

John Kass, a right-leaning columnist for the Chicago Tribune, asked the obvious question in a Wednesday column:

Obama can't worry about Clinton's troubles. He's got a few of his own. And he'll be thinking what every one of us would be thinking, if we were running for president as Barack Obama: How the heck will "Saturday Night Live" ridicule me and Jeremiah Wright?

Kass had a few ideas of how SNL should do it:

Wright, Obama's ridiculously controversial longtime pastor, torpedoed the Obama campaign by releasing copious amounts of natural gas in separate speeches, one at an NAACP meeting in Detroit and the other before the National Press Club this week in Washington.

Though SNL writers haven't asked me, I'd suggest a skit called "The Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Clapping School For White Liberal Folks."

Wright could teach proper rhythmic clapping skills to those wacky uptight Chicago leftist academics and Obama supporters, former Weather Underground leaders William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. And Hillary, too, needs a clapping lesson because Bill hasn't been able to teach her.

Don't worry. Stop cringing. I've got coverage for this one—it comes from Wright.

"If you got some white friends, they'll be clapping like dis, y'all," sang Wright, mimicking bad white clappers, loudly and to much applause, on tape, at the NAACP dinner Sunday night.

At first, I thought it was from HBO's "Def Comedy Jam," in which white people are often ridiculed for bad dancing or pathetic sexual prowess or lack of accomplishment in athletic contests.

But on the wall behind Wright was the NAACP logo, so it wasn't a comedy show. It was a serious event. Amen, reverend.

Those white people can't clap for beans. But they sure can vote.

Kass suggested that Wright forced Obama’s hand, that he wasn’t playing ball with the liberal media game.

"Whatever relationship I had with Rev. Wright has changed as a consequence of this," Obama said. "…That's a show of disrespect to me. It is also, I think, an insult to what we've been trying to do."

Obama is correct. It was an insult—to the established liberal media script.

Recently, Wright's anger was softened in a gooey PBS interview by liberal media high priest Bill Moyers. If only Wright had kept his mouth shut, the retiring reverend could have quietly contemplated other questions, such as how his 10,400-square-foot mansion on a golf course could fit through the eye of a needle. But he chose to speak out, loudly, stubbornly, at Obama's expense.

Kass concluded that when even Jon Stewart can parade the goofy footage of Wright doing impressions and mocking white people and liberals laugh (even if in Stewart’s case, it was directed at how ridiculous the media was for treating this as more than a right-wing distraction), it’s time to diassociate:

If you watch that "Daily Show" segment, you'll hear the audience, young, white, hip, educated and pro-Obama, laugh at Wright doing that angry black preacher routine.

That's what caused Obama to finally move against Wright. It wasn't the Press Club speech and pundits. It was selected cuts of Wright's NAACP speech and the tittering it evoked in a pro-Obama audience.

So perhaps it wasn't angry outrage that caused the break between the lamb and his retiring shepherd. Perhaps it was ridicule, and the threat of more to come.

Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential Chicago Tribune Jeremiah Wright
Tim Graham's picture