The return of Jeremiah Wright?

Former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown wrote an entry in his “Willie’s World” blog for the San Francisco Chronicle over the weekend that has raised a lot of eyebrows:

As we roll into the final presidential debate, the polls show a very tight race. One thing they don’t show, however, is how race is a factor in the election.

By my estimate, you have to build in a three- to five-point slip from the poll numbers for any black candidate on election day. To overcome the slip, you need to pump up the black vote by equal measure.

And that’s not easy, because brothers and sisters aren’t among the top turnout groups.

In 2008, Barack Obama was able to compensate for the slip and then some. You would have thought it was Nelson Mandela coming out of jail. This time it’s not going to be that easy.

If Obama looks as if he’s going black, he could turn off white people. So he’s largely been lying low on the race issues – visibly pushing for the Latino vote, the gay vote, the women’s vote, but not the black vote.

But last weekend, he held a conference call with a collection of black preachers that included his old pastor, Jeremiah Wright. He wanted to talk to them about getting out the vote.

(Emphasis mine.)  Exorcising Reverend Wright from his crew was a big priority for Barack Obama in 2008.  He gave a big speech – hailed at the time as the greatest oration on race relations since the time of Martin Luther King Jr., although nobody can remember a word of it today – in which he said he couldn’t possibly disown the Reverend.  Then Wright popped off with a few more racist tirades, and Obama swiftly disowned him.

If Wright is really back in the fold, it would be an incredible sign of desperation from Obama, and it would cost him.  Wright didn’t just slip up and use a couple of inappropriate words.  He’s a complete loon, and one of the most hateful figures to enter the inner circle of a modern politician.  Obama survived him in 2008 only because the media made a collective decision to forget him, permitting Obama to edit his biography in a way that would, obviously, never be allowed for a Republican.

The Obama campaign has been giving off an air of desperation lately.  (“Binders full of women!”)  Are they desperate enough to organize a stealth racial outreach campaign, and include Jeremiah Wright as one of the operatives?  Neil Munro at the Daily Caller says he received an email from Obama campaign spokesman Lis Smith flatly denying Brown’s account of the conference call, calling it “totally inaccurate.”  She insisted Wright has not engaged in any campaign activity with Obama over the last two months.

So Willie Brown is a stinking liar, out to sabotage the Obama campaign?  Or is he just gullible, led astray by a second-hand account of the Obama conference call, perhaps from someone who rattled off a list of attendees and slipped Wright’s name into the mix by accident?  Wright is the only name Brown saw fit to mention in his blog post.  It seems remarkable that he wouldn’t make any effort to verify his inclusion in the Obama campaign’s outreach, at least with his original source: “Whoa, wait a second.  Jeremiah Wright was in on that call?  Really?  Are you sure?