So far as I'm aware, Christopher Hitchens perceived earlier than anyone that Barack Obama might have problems owing to his religious affiliation with a rabble-rousing nutter:
"All this easy talk about being a "uniter" and not a "divider" is piffle if people are talking out of both sides of their mouths. I have been droning on for months about how Mitt Romney needs to answer questions about the flat-out racist background of his own church, and about how Huckabee has shown in public that he does not even understand the first thing about a theory—the crucial theory of evolution by natural selection—in which he claims not to believe. Many Democrats are with me on this, but they go completely quiet when Sen. Obama chooses to give his allegiance to a crackpot church with a decidedly ethnic character."
"[W]hat concerns me most about the Wright controversy isn't the Pastor's racist statements or even his unhinged views of Israel. I don't think Obama agrees with any of that nonsense. What concerns me is the sort of comment that Wright made about Harry Truman's ending World War II, that "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye." This smacks of the Howard Zinn/Noam Chomsky/Nation magazine wing of the American left that Democrats serious about this country's security (and winning in November) should not want within 100 miles of the next administration.... While I know that Obama doesn't think the government created AIDS, I'm less assured that he shares a vision of American power that understands our singular role in the world. In sum: does Obama believe Harry Truman was right to end the war with Japan the way that he did? Why is no one in the media asking him this question? That seems to me an entirely fair query of man who wants to become Commander-in-Chief."
It seems to me also a fair question, which relates directly to the Democrats' historic record on national security, and it's not clear how Obama would answer it. I hope it will be taken up. If Obama believes Truman was wrong, then that isn't an illegitimate position; but it is one that would cost him the presidency, and with justification.
UPDATE: Christopher returns to the subject in his Slate column this week, with an open-and-shut case that Obama has long understood the character and ministry of his huckstering pastor:
"To have accepted Obama's smooth apologetics is to have lowered one's own pre-existing standards for what might constitute a post-racial or a post-racist future. It is to have put that quite sober and realistic hope, meanwhile, into untrustworthy and unscrupulous hands. And it is to have done this, furthermore, in the service of blind faith. Mark my words: This disappointment is only the first of many that are still to come."