Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jackson-Obama Conspiracy?

At lunch today with a friend (one known in the blogosphere as The Tim Man), he surmised that Jesse Jackson's recent obnoxious and vulgar remarks about Barack Obama may have been made on purpose.  Credit to him for thinking of the possibility.  I hadn't.  But it does make a lot of sense.

A contrived fight between Jackson and Obama is unlikely to affect Obama's standing with black voters.  On the other hand, some percentage of those white voters whose ignorance (rather than an assessment of the particular man's liberal views) would prevent them from voting for a black man might be more likely to consider backing Obama if Jesse Jackson doesn't like him.
It turns out that The Tim Man thinking that these remarks could be beneficial to the Obama campaign.  Jonathan Salant, writing at, pushed the thought.  These comments, Salant wrote, could give Obama "an opportunity to win over some voters who have been skeptical of his candidacy."  

Salant quotes three professors in his piece.  One of them suggests that this controversy emphasizes Obama's call for personal responsibility since that's what Jackson seemed to be peeved about.  Another said that Jackson's comments could help show that Obama "is not a 'black' leader but just a Democrat running for president."  And the third, David Schultz, either smelled a conspiracy or dumb luck for Obama suggesting that "Obama should give Jackson and [Bill] O'Reilly an award for helping his campaign with white voters."

Is there a conspiracy?  Or is it just an honest gaffe that has given Obama an opportunity?  Anything is possible.

1 comment:

Dameon said...

When I watched the video of the incident the first time, my initial impression was that this didn't seem right. The way the men were standing - prepared for an on air interview, didn't seem to lend itself to a casual conversation about politics. The way Jackson leaned over and wispered the sentence a couple of words at a time, like it was a very important secret message. It just didn't seem like a casual conversation that just happened to be caught on tape. And the other gentelman seemed to be somewhat suprised and puzzled that Jackson was telling him this.

I agree, it looked like a staged "accident".