We're 15 months away from the 2008 presidential election, and where do things stand? Aside from defending themselves from grenades lobbed from the other competitors – Mike Huckabee's critical non-questioning of Mitt Romney was masterful on "Face the Nation" yesterday – the candidates have had to deal with the likes of Jon Stewart, Melissa Etheridge and Keith Olbermann asking occasionally probing questions.
But we've also had an odd summer of ObamaGirl and Hot for Hillary and part of me has no idea where all this is headed. Take just the past five days, for example.
First off, Suzanne Malveaux of CNN asked Hillary Clinton "Are You Black Enough?" Thursday at the National Association of Black Journalists conference in Las Vegas. Clinton handled it deftly, though, according to Eric Deggans' account:
Facing a room packed with more than 1,000 journalists, Clinton chuckled a bit before launching into a generalized tribute to campaign diversity.I can see the point of Malveaux's question, and understand that she wanted to package it in a hip way. She's in TV and knows her soundbites backwards and forwards. But when Barack Obama starts complaining about the question – he said that reporters who ask it are looking for "an easy story to write and a lazy story to write" – it's time to cut it out.
"I am thrilled to be running at a time when, on the stage, you can see an African-American man, a Hispanic man and a woman," she said, referring to Obama and fellow Democratic candidate Bill Richardson. "Democratic primary voters don't have to be against anyone. You can be for the person you believe will do the best job as our president."
But the most curious – and by 'curious,' I mean 'wince-inducing' – development in political debate happened online over the weekend: a real-live trash-talking battle continued between Republican candidate Mitt Romney and … wait for it … wait for it … an animated snowman.
Yep, that's right. The national political conversation has gotten to the point where a climate-conscious Frosty knockoff has become a political player.
By way of background, Mitt Romney famously reconsidered participating in a YouTube debate because he said "I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman" – referring to the snowman's participation in the CNN YouTube Democratic debate.
And now, the snowman (whose name is Billiam, if you must know) has fired back a pointed response at the man who may be president, goading him into participating.
Part of me thinks that if an animated snowman is going to make people more interested in the political campaign, then heck … why not? But then the other part of me thinks that using a cartoon-ish snowman as a political delivery mechanism is something like Fruity Pebbles being your source of calcium and nutrients.
I'm not here pushing bran flakes politics. Far from it. But is this four "spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down" method any way to select a president?