Jim McComb is an artist, a friend and a political activist. A decade or so ago, he and his wife, Alene Valkanas, bought a weekend place in New Buffalo, Michigan, which for many well-off Chicagoans is an area that's home away from home. About a year ago, Jim and Alene put their Northside Chicago condo on the market and made Michigan turned their vacation home into their retirement home.
When not spending time in his studio painting watercolor landscapes (the painting, "Apple Boat," above is one), Jim has been out and about trying to change the nation’s political picture. He’s been involved in the Obama campaign there and been over some peaks and down some valleys. He sends me his observations periodically. The one he sent yesterday, I thought I’d share with you. This is much of what Jim wrote:
This Friday Senator McCain having arranged to make his medical records available for scrutiny to a small audience of selected reporters, failed at the same time to conceal his biggest medical liability, his very thin skin. Stung by a charge from Senator Barack Obama that his failure to endorse Senator Jim Webb's Updated G.I. Bill was a failure to support the troops, McCain lashed out at Senator Obama's service record.
Never mind that when Obama was at the eligible service age America was in no imminent danger and that young Barack Obama had enlisted for the domestic battlefield, fighting poverty on the south side of Chicago.
With this petty assault on Obama, Senator McCain has quickly sidestepped his promise to keep this campaign for the Presidency elevated. And he has exposed his least Presidential quality, the ability to keep his word.
Sara Bode a colleague here mused that she hoped for an elevated instead of an "attack/counter attack" campaign to which I replied:
"It would seem that the main lesson of the Kerry Experience is that you never let an attack stand unresponded to. My guess is that McCain is really a mean son-of-a-bitch not the "Mister Charm" of the David Letterman Show or the Daily Show. He is probably a generational racist and seriously resents being challenged by this "upstart young black leader." Eventually he will let something really ugly drop in public or private and we will see the real John McCain not the war hero Barack honors."
Most sadly the stuff from West Virginia confirms how ugly this will get:
I still believe we can win but it will depend on being able to re-marshall that army of "YES WE CAN" young believers from the primary and move them again for the general election. There seems to be a lot of skepticism among the pundits that this is possible. What do you think?
My thinking, Jim, is that the jury’s still out. The optimist in me wants to believe that the good old USA has enough adults to negate the ignoramus-types represented in that West Virginia video. The realist in me keeps whispering, “We’re not there yet.”
We’ll all know how much racial progress this nation has undergone by mid-November. My fingers are crossed. My hopes are high.