Finally suggesting that there are some boundaries to acceptable hatred of white people by black Americans, Sen. Barack Obama has cut his ties with his controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright 

Media reports indicate that Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the frontrunner in the Democrats’ presidential nomination race, has decided to jettison his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. After the fiery, white-hating preacher’s bizarre performance Sunday night on national television—which Obama unconvincingly claims not to have seen until just now—the Illinois junior senator said he was outraged and saddened by Wright’s remarks.

At a speech in North Carolina today, Obama Obama addressed his Wright problem. Here’s a report from the Los Angeles Times:

"Yesterday, we saw a very different vision," Obama said of Wright’s Washington appearance, which at one point he termed a "performance."

He could hardly have distanced himself farther from the man who officiated at his  wedding ceremony  and baptized his two children.

Obama described himself as "outraged" by many of Wright’s remarks and "saddened" by what he termed "the spectacle of what we saw yesterday."

He characterized as "ridiculous" Wright’s notion that the AIDS epidemic may have been a conspiracy inflicted on blacks by the federal government and that Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan should be considered a leading voice in modern times.

Such views …

"offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. They should be denounced."

And in line after line, he did so.

"When I say I find (Wright’s comments) appalling, I mean it," Obama said.

And during a Q & A with reporters following his statement, Obama came back — unprompted — to Wright’s opinions on AIDS and other matters, calling them "rants that aren’t grounded in truth."

This is a welcome change in Obama’s attitude toward the Rev. Mr. Wright. Why the junior senator from Illinois was not outraged or saddened when Wright peppered his sermons and other speeches with such "thoughts" during the many years in which Obama attended Wright’s church, Obama did not say.

Of course, we already knew the answer: Obama recognized that voters were giving him a free ride in the case, as their desire to cast a symbolic vote for racial reconciliation was far stronger than reason.

But given Wright’s recent very high profile in the media—including a thoroughly unrepentant speech before the National Press Club yesterday, in which Wright reiterated the very ideas and claims that had been threatening to disturb Obama’s image as a squeaky clean reformer out to lead all Americans in a crusade to kick the baddies out of Washington, D.C. and replace them with a new generation of JFK-style idealists—Obama clearly realized that Wright was not going to go away but was instead going to take advantage of his new public forum as the much-admired presidential candidate’s crazy ex-pastor.

In addition, Wright suggested on the Bill Moyers show on PBS last Friday that Obama still agrees with him and that the Illinois senator’s mid-March speech distancing himself from Wright’s most inflammatory statements was a pack of lies: "If Sen. Obama did not say what he said, he would not get elected."

All of that was much too much, and Obama finally did what he should have done many years ago: consigned the Rev. Wright to the landfill where he belongs.

Now we shall see whether the voters will do the same with Obama himself.