It's good that the Obama campaign apologized to the Muslim women who campaign volunteers barred from a photo-op, but they should go a bit further. The obvious move would be to invite those women to a sit-down with the candidate. The bigger move would be to invite them to the sit-down, and then make a speech forthrightly addressing not only the rumors, but the ugly undertone of the rumors, which implies that the religion of millions of Americans and over a billion people worldwide somehow renders them dangerously "other." There's no worse strategy in "the War on Terror" then deciding our enemies aren't merely a couple terrorist dead-enders, but a couple thousand terrorist dead-enders plus more than one billion other people.
It's doubtlessly a tricky line for Obama to walk, as plenty of racists will simply assume "well that's exactly what a Manchurian Muslim agent would say," but addressing it openly might make it a considerably more toxic charge and ensure it stays contained to those who've already bought in. And, in any case, these rumors have settled darkly on the edge of the election and this event shows that they're affecting the behavior and thinking of otherwise perfectly rational folks. It's time to resolve the tension.
-- EZRA KLEINYeah, a failed war, the worst natural disaster response in modern history, a tattered Justice Department, a broken military, a decimated budget and trillions of additional debt, the taint of torture, an exposed CIA spy, a history of domestic spying, the insertion of religious nuts and unqualified hacks throughout every level of his administration, and a ruined reputation abroad and Bush is worried about a recession ruining his legacy?
-- JOHN COLE
One can hardly blame Barack Obama for opting out of publicly financing his campaign for President of the United States. After all, Jesus was only tempted with all the kingdoms of the earth if he would worship Satan. Obama ’s temptation was winning the presidency at the expense of his image as a truthtelling agent of change and new political messiah.
I think Obama is getting much the better of the deal.-- RICK MORAN
Obviously, it's somewhat hypocritical for Barack Obama to have implied that he would accept public financing in the general election and then back out of that once it became clear that he could get more money by not doing so. John McCain, by contrast, is just straightforwardly breaking the law on this issue. Which doesn't make Obama's gambit un-hypocritical, but it shows that if you're voting on the basis of "doesn't play funny games with campaign finance law" you should back Obama.
Clearly there's a larger issue with our campaign finance system here, and the past couple of decades worth of reforms seem to have mostly made things worse rather than better.
While last year's sagging economy hit the financial fortunes of millions of Americans -- and most lawmakers -- two Senate leaders did pretty well for themselves, according to a new analysis.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., saw his wealth grow by as much as $1.2 million last year, according to a review of lawmakers' new financial disclosure reports by the Hill newspaper. And Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., saw his assets increase by at least $600,000, according to the paper.
-- JUSTIN ROOD
It's worth remembering that presidential polls conducted far in advance of the November election are generally meaningless. Two examples should suffice. In the summer of 1988, Michael Dukakis held a 17-point lead over Vice President George H. W. Bush; in the late spring of 1992, Bill Clinton was running third in the polls...and the guy at the top of the heap was the flavor of the season, Ross Perot.
But the fair-and-balanced pollsters at Fox News always manage to tweak my interest, regardless of the season. They have a gift for crafting ideological-loaded questions in a manner that is intended to provide them with the answers that they seek. Their current priority, it would appear, is to ask people whether they might be inclined to believe that Barack Obama is an unAmerican weirdo.
-- DICK POLMAN
It's no secret that one of John McCain's biggest challenges as a candidate is distinguishing himself from President Bush. I'm not sure why he's eager to spurn President Bush's supporters. I mean, that's walking away from almost 29% of the American electorate and nearly half the Bush children.
But he's so different from Bush already. The only issues they agree on are education, immigration, Iraq, abortion, Supreme Court judges, Social Security, tax breaks for the wealthy, wiretapping, trade, health care, the Middle East, same sex marriage and Medicare.-- STEVEN COLBERT
Cartoon by Pat Oliphant/Universal Press Syndicate
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