The Jeremiah Wright flap provided, what, a week's worth of excitement,
but the dreary campaign is back once more on its stupefyingly tedious
track. The Note is again full
from end to end of soporific, sophomoric inside-baseball
wiseacre-y. How long, oh Lord, how long? Who cares, oh Lord, who cares?
The only mildly interesting thing to come out of the Wright-o-machia was a dog that
didn't bark. The whole carpet-chewing brouhaha appears to have made very little
difference to anybody. Which is actually a phenomenon worth pondering, especially since nothing else of any interest is going on. (The gas tax holiday? Puh-leeze.)
Better a non-phenomenon than none at all.
The pollsters have been busy:
In Poll, Obama Survives Furor, but Fall Is the Test
WASHINGTON — A majority of American voters say that the furor over the relationship between Senator Barack Obama and his former pastor has not affected their opinion of Mr. Obama, but a substantial number say that it could influence voters this fall....
This is a classic slow-news-day exercise in squeezing blood from a stone. The poll shows that nothing has happened. Stop The Presses! Day Passes! Nothing Happens!
But some of the people polled allow as how the Wright flap might perhaps make a difference to some unspecified other people -- though it's made little or none to them.
So that is the news. It hasn't made any difference -- yet. But some people think
it might. Stop The Presses! Subjunctive Mood Alive And Well!
Mixed feelings, as usual, seems like the right response. The good news is that the ogreish cartoon of black anger which the media tried to construct out of Pastor Wright
doesn't seem to have scared anybody very much. That is unquestionably progress.
Score one for the good sense of the public.
The bad news is that Obama isn't utterly disgraced for his weak-kneed response. (Whatever you say, officer! I'll talk!)
One wonders how anybody who ever believed that the guy
represented something really new, and hopeful, and positive, can continue to believe that
after his barefoot penance at the frigid windswept Canossa where the infallible Papacy of received ideas retired to sulk after the intolerable insults Wright offered it.
But maybe even within the bad news there's a silver lining. From the same Times story:
... nearly half of the voters surveyed, and a substantial part of the Democrats, said Mr. Obama had acted mainly because he thought it would help him politically, rather than because he had serious disagreements with his former pastor.
In other words, the process of discounting the shiny new Obama coinage is well under
way, and probably was so even before Jeremiah Wright made the National Press Club
look like a foot-shuffling gaggle of ignorant, ill-bred schoolboys.
Which brings us back to the old story -- Obama is the quadrate term of lesser-evillism,
the lesser evil of the lesser evils.
But that, ah that, is apparently the inoperable tumor of American political thinking. How do we persuade people to stop caring which evil is lesser?