Barack Obama isn’t associated with anyone…Ever since the video of his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, came to light (and not before, when the type of things he was saying were only available in print), the Obama Campaign has been imploring people not to judge the Senator by his mentor’s words. Barack and his talking heads have pleaded for people to avoid the “guilt by association” that tends to go with these things. Mark Steyn takes this on directly today:

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright thinks that, given their treatment by white America, black Americans have no reason to sing “God Bless America.”

“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 d… America,” he told his congregation. “God d… America for treating our citizens as less than human.”

I’m not a believer in guilt by association, or the campaign vaudeville of rival politicians insisting this or that candidate disassociate himself from remarks by some fellow he had a 30-second grip’n’greet with a decade ago. But Jeremiah Wright is not exactly peripheral to Barack Obama’s life. He married the Obamas and baptized their children. Those of us who made the mistake of buying the senator’s last book, “The Audacity Of Hope” and assumed the title was an ingeniously parodic distillation of the great sonorous banality of an entire genre of blandly uplifting political writing discovered circa Page 127 that in fact the phrase comes from one of the Rev. Wright’s sermons. Jeremiah Wright has been Barack Obama’s pastor for 20 years – in other words, pretty much the senator’s entire adult life. Did Mr. Obama consider “God D… America” as a title for his book but it didn’t focus-group so well?

In politics a 20 year relationship is not association, it is character, it is part of who you are. Questioning Barack Obama about a 20 year close, mentor-type relationship is not “guilt by association,” or else Bonnie Parker was just a misunderstood woman who liked to drive fast and happened to get in the wrong car one day.