Barack Obama's supporters are quick to level the cherry-picking charge in any discussion of Reverend Jeremiah Wright's video vitriol, claiming that Obama's critics are selectively condemning the pastor with but a few exceptional sermons out of twenty-plus years of weekly sermons.
The problem with that argument is that the church's gift shop packaged and sold in DVD format the very sermons that are being used now with such devastating political effect, characterizing them as a "best of" series. One can only speculate as to whose characterization that is, but after seeing the Rev's rather formidable ego demonstrated in the videos and in television interviews, I do not think he is one who would delegate the task of selecting his best sermons for resale purposes to any subordinate; which leaves us to conclude that Reverend Wright himself holds those cherry-picked videos in very high esteem.
Now, do any of us skeptics out here really believe that if those videos are the Rev's choice for his "best of" series, that they are the only exceptional examples of thirty-six years of preaching from that pulpit? Are we to accept that after three and a half decades, the Rev can point only to that skimpy handful of videos and say, "There is the sum total of the very best of the fruits of my labors in service to the Lord?"
So what becomes most intriguing here is the question as to just how long the church has been recording and selling the Rev's weekly exhortations to his flock and just how many of those tapes may be out there in circulation. Obviously, from what we've already seen, the church has been taping at least since the week after 9/11, which means there could be hundreds of tapes in just that time, perhaps multiple thousands if one considers that most likely every performance (three services every Sunday) is taped to provide the collection from which a "best of" series can be selected.
Obama's supporters try to reassure themselves that this will blow over; but I wonder how many of them lay awake wondering just how many more of these tapes are out there and just when one of the Clintons' opposition research operatives is going to pay some disgruntled, or just greedy, former parishioner a very hefty sum for his extensive collection of the "best of" series? That cannot be a sleep-inducing thought within the Obama campaign, especially if one of those videos should contain audience shots that include an enthusiastic, wildly cheering Barack and Michelle.
And just think there's only twenty years of possibilities in this potential treasure trove. Once the Clintons get through digging, there may even be a jewel or two left for Republican oppo investigators should Obama win the nomination.