Just a few random thoughts…
Most people think that Jesse Jackson’s now infamous rant about Barack Obama (“I’d like to cut his nuts off!”) is actually a good thing for Obama—after all, many moderate voters who may be unsure of Obama don’t like Jackson, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend. There may be some truth to that, but I think that an equally strong argument could be made that Jackson’s criticisms hurt Obama. Obama is running as a unifying, transformational figure, and criticism by anyone, especially an (ahem) “civil rights leader” like Jesse Jackson undercuts that image. It isn’t possible to know what kind of impact Jackson’s statements will have in November, but I doubt the Obama campaign is very happy about them.
Actually, I do know what impact Jackson’s statements will have in November—none. In four months, everyone will have completely forgotten about them.
Speaking of November, it seems (incredibly) that McCain could still actually win. Gallup’s daily tracking poll has the two candidates tied, Rasmussen has Obama up by two, which is within the margin of error, and the RealClearPolitics national poll average has Obama up by 4.8 points, down from almost seven points up only a few weeks ago. Right now, is seems that neither candidate really wants to seize control of the race.
Considering how entertaining the race was just a few months ago, the whole political landscape has suddenly grown very dull. Bush is a lame duck and won’t do anything, Congress will probably wait until the next president is sworn in before doing anything, and neither presidential candidate is making much news. Boring.
And just to put things in perspective, the Daily Kos is one of the most popular liberal blogs. It has a lot of influence among Democrats, presidential candidates attend its YearlyKos conventions, it gets tons of liberal traffic. Cracked.com is a website that makes funny lists about pop culture—it’s amusing (I read it), but sort of…lightweight. Cracked gets twice as much traffic as the DailyKos. (Compare them at www.alexa.com. It’s fun seeing how different websites compare). If you’re reading this, you probably think about about politics a great deal, and it’s easy to forget that most Americans really couldn’t care less.
One series of books I really enjoy is the Inspector Rebus series by Ian Rankin. They are dark, rather depressing books, but they hold your attention and feature interesting plots and well-done dialogue. They are set in Scotland, and if Rankin’s books are at all accurate, there is a wholly different culture regarding crime over there. The police are almost powerless, there are whole neighborhoods that they can’t enter without extreme caution, and it is considered almost impossibly difficult to get a conviction. There are crime-ridden places in the U.S., of course, but I’m pretty sure that police officers can at least patrol most areas in our cities. Anyway, you might want to check them out.
On the bright side, there aren’t many guns in Scotland. (The bad guys seem to use mostly fists and knives). So they’ve got that going for them.
John McCain has come out with an ad that basically tells Hispanics what great people they are. (I’m not exaggerating). It’s a pretty blatant pander, and it might annoy some conservatives, but I think it’s pretty effective. It shows McCain talking about Hispanic military service during a debate, and McCain can be surprisingly eloquent when talking about that sort of thing. See it here.