CANDIDATES ON JENA 6. An illustration of the point I was trying to make last night that I failed to include was a comparison of statements from presidential candidates about the Jena 6 case. You don't have to look much further than these to see the different standard to which Obama would be held if he were to make a statement that overtly referred to race or racism. Obama can't come off as an Angry Black Man, but white candidates, without the fear that they will be deemed as single-issue and/or single-constituency, can say what they like and it will really only help their cause. Let's line up the official statements.
IT IS BLACK AND WHITE. As Dananoted, mainstream press coverage of the Jena 6 was pitiful at best, until it finally hit the major-media radar this week . And recent coverage seems to have disproportionately focused on Jesse Jackson's (possible) accusation that Barack Obama has been "acting like he's white" by not coming out more visibly on the Jena 6 issue. Jackson later backed down, saying that the statement doesn't really represent the way he feels about Obama, or that it was taken out of context.
WHAT DO WE APPROVE OF THESE DAYS? We've been hearing about Bush's sinking public opinion ship a lot lately, and the Reuters/Zogby poll released yesterday put him at a mere 29 percent approval rating. But despite the glee with which we repeat that ever-shrinking figure, Congress has been getting bad marks too -- even worse then the man in the White House. Only 11 percent of Americans gave Congress a positive rating, down three points from the previous low of 14 percent in July.
FIRST RACES. NPR has been running a series on current presidential candidates and their first major campaigns. The pieces look at their first big races, and the lessons they learned by either winning or losing. It offers insight into this career-shaping era of the politicians as we see them today. Obamatalks about how he got "spanked" in his run for the Democratic nomination for a House seat in Illinois in March 2000, largely because he was inexperienced. Huckabee's first loss, in a bid for a Senate seat in Arkansas, taught him that listening to political consultants isn't always the best choice.