Now with actual reporting

Last Thursday morning I was sitting in Grand Central Terminal having breakfast and eavesdropping on the people sitting behind me. I've forgotten most of what was said, but the part which I noted to some friends later in the day, because I was horrified by it, was that one of them was telling the others, who seemed appreciative of this information about how one thing he liked about Sen. Obama (I couldn't tell if he was in favor of Sen. Obama overall or not) was that the Obamas only owned one house, which they had bought with their own money, plus a Condo they were renting in Washington, D.C. He was contrasting this to other candidate's families, not just the McCains, but also the Clintons and others, who he was saying had more than one home and had had homes bought for them, or married heiresses, or used funds donated for their library or for other purposes to buy homes.

I found this both mind-boggling and frightening. The first because he seemed rather fact-challenged, since, while my understanding is that there was no impropriety involving Tony Rezko and the purchase of the Obama's Chicago home, surely the manner of the purchase of his home isn't a point in his favor. I don't think his narratives about how other Presidential contenders (incl. nomination contenders) acquired their homes were accurate either, but I can't remember the details so I'm unsure. The second because I hate being reminded of the actual bases upon which some people vote. I mean, these people were weighting how many homes someone owned as a point for or against them in deciding who to vote for, and even then they didn't know the facts about this.

Anyway, I was reminded of this today when all of my favorite blogs, plus the Obama campaign and the DNC, decided it would be a good idea to spend the whole day talking about how many homes John McCain owns and how funny it is that when asked yesterday he didn't know what the answer was. I've been told there's a difference between saying “It's bad that he has a lot of houses” and
“McCain is so out of touch with the common person's economic situation that he doesn't know how many houses he owns,” but I don't see it. I do see the force of “John McCain's tax plans, including his estate tax plan is only more helpful to you if you're very rich, like the McCains,” but that's not what's going on today, it's just stoking resentment. And I understand the Obama campaign's need to hit back against bizarre (tire gauge) and offensive (celebrity) attacks by the McCain campaign, but I don't see why anyone else has to act like it matters.