What can Barack Obama do when one of his ostensible supporters goes cross-country bearing a bracingly anti-American message? Especially when that supporter is a two-story-tall inflatable pig?
It's the sort of question not often raised in a presidential campaign -- until last Sunday, when a huge helium-filled mammal floated free during a concert by former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters at the Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival in the desert east of Los Angeles.
"That's my pig," Waters reportedly said as the porker came loose from its tether and floated into the night. Isn't that a line from "Charlotte's Web"?
The porcine dirigible -- one of a line of floating pigs that have been part of Waters' act since Pink Floyd's 1977 album "Animals" -- was adorned with a number of messages unlikely to be used as bumper stickers by this year's candidates: "Don't be led to the slaughter" next to a cartoon image of Uncle Sam holding two bloody cleavers; "Fear builds walls," a reference to Waters' misanthropic classic-rock smash album "The Wall"; and across the underbelly -- where the bacon would come from -- "Obama" and a checked ballot box.
With the pig AWOL somewhere downwind of Coachella, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. took over the job of embarrassing Obama on Monday with a visit to the National Press Club. Like Waters, Wright gave a performance of his greatest hits: contentious classics such as his belief that AIDS is a government plot against minorities, that America brought 9/11 on itself, and that anyone who criticizes his rhetoric is actually assaulting the African-American religious tradition.