This is a bit late because I took off for Butte on Friday with Gary Svee to see Tom McGuane talk at the Butte Press Club. A good time was had by all, so far as I could tell, although I may have had a beer or two more than was strictly necessary. A highlight was that I won the annual raffle of a chance to sign a bottle of Auld Malcolm, whiskey so bad, apparently, that even old-time Butte newsmen wouldn't drink it when it was donated for a press party. So every year a signature is added to the bottle, including, now, my own. Now no one can say that I haven't made a difference in Montana journalism.
On Thursday, Sean Hannity had pretty much nailed the presidential election down to four issues: Jeremiah Wright, Michelle Obama, William Ayers and "clinging" to guns and religion. That's pretty much it. No war in Iraq, no economy, no global warming, no rising gasoline prices. Just the Big Four issues.
Hannity also has said repeatedly now that race isn't a big factor in presidential elections. Ninety percent of Americans aren't racists, he says. I don't know where he got that number -- I'm pretty sure he made it up -- and I suspect it overstates how well Americans have gotten over racism. But even if it doesn't, that means that Obama starts out 10 points down with white voters. So when is the last time 10 percentage points wouldn't have swung the results of a presidential election? In 1984, when Reagan swamped Mondale.
Yet Hannity can't figure out why guys like Jeremiah Wright still obsess over racism. In 1960, black Americans weren't even allowed at the starting line. Now they are allowed to compete, so long as they start 10 yards behind. That's progress, of a sort, but it ain't equal.
Unrelated note: I mentioned earlier how impressive all the Democratic candidates for attorney general sounded at the Truman Dinner. Dave Rye had Tim Fox, a Republican attorney general candidate, on the radio Thursday morning, and he sounded awfully impressive, too. Voters may just have to close their eyes when they vote for attorney general this year. At least that's better than holding their noses.