There are plenty of pragmatic reasons Romney and the GOP should steer clear of the pastor. But there's no compelling moral reason that they must.
The reaction was swift to news that a conservative super PAC was considering ads that attacked President Obama by tying him to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the controversial pastor whose church Obama attended in Chicago. A consensus was reached quickly: Such attacks are out of bounds. Mitt Romney's campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, said in a statement, "It's clear President Obama's team is running a campaign of character assassination. We repudiate any efforts on our side to do so." That wasn't enough for the Obama campaign. Campaign manager Jim Messina fumed in a statement, "Once again, Governor Romney has fallen short of the standard that John McCain set, reacting tepidly in a moment that required moral leadership in standing up to the very extreme wing of his own party." By early afternoon, even Joe Ricketts, the billionaire who was funding the yet-to-be-approved campaign, had disavowed it.
The argument that Wright can't be discussed seems to rest on three premises. First is the Obama campaign's version, which seems to commit the logical fallacy of begging the question: It's immoral because it's immoral. Second, the Obamans and others contend that because John McCain refused to make Wright an issue, it must inherently be wrong to do so. Third, old-school political gentlemen's agreements frown on attacks on religion (as well as families). And underlying all of this is a suggestion that Wright can't be discussed because any conversation about him is inherently racist.