Sun Tzu's strategy teaches that all problems are secretly opportunities in disguise. Converting a problem to an opportunity requires the process of "reversal," which means turning a situation upside down and backwards, looking for the opportunity. This is a confusing idea for most people, but we have a good example. Let us look at Obama's problem with Rev. Wright. Since the problem is about Obama's past beliefs and associations, Obama needs to reverse it and make it about his future actions and associations. The common mistakes are either trying to avoid the topic (which just arouses more interest), rewriting the past (which invites more exposures), or getting vague about the past (which makes Obama seem either foolish or disingenuous). Instead of avoiding talking about this issue, he must talk about it intensely. Instead of rewriting the past, he must write the future. Instead of being vague about the past, he must get very clear and detailed about the future.
What does this mean? Obama must talk about what the Wright situation has taught him and how he will act differently in the future. He must talk about how Wright's ideas are wrong for the future. He should use
contradicting Wright's specific
statements to return to his main mission of moving on from partisan and racial divisions of the past. He should look at all of Wright's statements and reverse them to connect to his mission. He should talk about how spreading government-created-AIDs undermines the idea of an transparent government. He should talk about how confusing even wrong-headed American military action with terrorism plays into the hands of terrorists and makes it harder to protect America. He should talk about how the kind of racial stereotypes the Rev. Wright offers destroys our ability to get past racial and political divisions and work together to solve common problems. He needs to turn every conversation about Wright into a conversation about how his experience with Rev. Wright has taught him lessons that few other politicians understand. Instead of trying to change the subject to talk about issues, he should
use the subject to talk about issues
. If this is done well and honestly, it gives Obama a way to use Wright instead of running from him for the many months remaining in the election.