The latest: Barack Obama will be giving the keynote at the Dem convention in Boston. It's obviously a huge boost for him, and surely brings a feeling of validation to those of us who've been saying he's hot stuff all along. It's a chance for him to soak up some national attention, and his positive message is just what the Democrats need to be focusing on.
Yes, it'll be a great way to start his senatorial career -- if he can get by Mike Ditka, that is. The brutish, big shouldered former Bears coach is appearing publicly this afternoon , and there's reason to think he'll announce his candidacy. There's a little poetry in it -- isn't a sexist bully like Ditka the perfect person to replace the effeminate Jack Ryan and his decidedly unrepublican sexual proclivities?
Obviously Ditka would be a powerful candidate in Illinois, but would he be able to beat Barack Obama? My gut reaction is that he'd have a very good chance, but the Tribune suggests that Ditka has some dirty laundry, if you can call it that: belonging to a men-only golf club, not being registered to vote. These things won't play well in Illinois, although they may play as part of Ditka's message, and they might well energize his base/fans.
Also in re not getting too discouraged if an angry Ditka candidacy emerges, it's important to remember that Obama's candidacy has been through every kind of bizarre twist in this senate race already. His chances appeared to dwindle when Peter Fitzgerald opted not to run for reelection, and then again when so many candidates threw their hats into the Democratic primary. But he's come out on top... hopefully he will again.
UPDATE: Ditka is not running. The press is spinning it as being about his inability to stand up to a background check, which if true wouldn't be all that surprising. Either way, this is good news for Obama supporters, who would have had to change their whole campaign to deal with a celeb opponent.