Various and sundry things have happened since my last blog, so I’ll go over each one in order of most recent news.
1. Obama declines public financing. I think we all saw this coming. Yes, the talking heads on cable news will have a field day for the next news cycle, but the average American could care less. And, honestly, if we look at the questionnaire Obama filled out, he said he would make every effort to use public financing for his campaign. His counsel has already come out and said they tried to come to some accord with the McCain camp, but were unable to.
The reality fo the situation is that I can’t imagine the Obama campaign using public financing even if McCain had said “sure, we’ll do what ever you want.” Because Obama’s ability to raise a boatload of money in small amount from millions of people is revolutionary, and it is perhaps his biggest advantage. He can challenge McCain in any state in America now, regardless of whether he actually has a chance of winning or not. Basically, he can spend and spend and spend and force McCain to try to keep up. It would be much like Pennsylvania was in the primary; Clinton won, but it cost her most of her money.
While this might be a PR bump for Obama, it’s not going to be a real problem or, more to the point, it will be more of an positive than a negative in the long run.
2. Michelle Obama begins her goodwill tour. If anyone in Washington is still scoring above 50% in opinion polls, it’s probably Laura Bush. So it’s pretty fantastic that the current First Lady came out in defense of the possible future First Lady, saying that she knew what Michelle Obama meant when she said this was the first time she’s every been proud of her country and that sometimes you misspeak in public.
Michelle Obama has taken full advantage of Laura Bush’s comments, bringing them up on The View the other day. She also took the chance to address the fist bump issue (and the fact that it’s an issue is unreal). She also hammered home the point that she is not some Ivy League snob, but a woman from a lower middle class home who struggled to get by, made something of herself, and is now focused on raising her children. There are clips from the show all over the internet and I recommend checking them out. She really did a great job.
One note on that, however. I read an article somewhere online pointing out something had mentioned to my wife to be after Michelle’s appearance on the Colbert Report: Michelle seems to be far funnier than she’s allowed to be. You can almost get a sense that she’s holding back a bit out of a sense of decorum, but that in an informal setting she probably has a razor sharp wit. It will be interesting to see what kind of a First Lady she would be, particularly if we ever get to see that wit come out.
3. Black people are everywhere! A couple of recent polls have suggested that sample polling is off because it doesn’t accurately reflect the number of African-Americans living in any given state, particularly in the South. The main issue is that, up until now, it was an irrelevant point because a large majority of those African-Americans didn’t vote. Guess what? They’re voting now.
Which, as I’ve trumpeted over and over again, is the real genius behind Barack Obama. Be they black, white, rich, poor, old, or young, Obama is getting people who have never voted to come out in droves. There is nothing more revolutionary than that. Imagine, an election where the results are actually determined by a majority of Americans! It’s mindboggling.
A side note: I was shocked when I heard Tim Russert had died. Nicole (my fiance) and I watch a lot of MSNBC (because we’re Obama backers and they are, without a doubt, biased towards Obama, just as Fox is biased towards any Republican and CNN was fairly clearly biased towards Clinton). So for the past few months we’ve seen a lot of Russert, particularly in his role as elder statesman during primary coverage.
Russert was great. He wasn’t rabidly liberal like Olbermann. He wasn’t unconsciously mysoginistic like Matthews. He wasn’t determinedly vanilla like Williams, nor was he desperately nostalgic like Brokaw. He was just the perfect political reporter, never overshadowing the facts with his own opinion, yet always willing to step up and make the big prediction.
He was the first commentator to truly announce that Obama had won the nomination, and this was weeks before the final contests.
While I might have my own opinions on the never ending coverage that MSNBC has done (to the point where it’s become almost insincere), I’m truly saddened that I won’t get to see him during the general election coverage. It’s heart breaking that he won’t get to see that.