Barack Obama and John McCain can both crack a joke, so why can't they take one this election season? From Obama offending McCain with digs about the race card to McCain's laughable anti-Obama ads, serious matters are being laughed off and bad jokes are being taken seriously, Kurt Andersen writes in New York. "Humor is proving to be the election’s consistently problematic X-factor," Andersen notes.
Perhaps the twisted humor is covering up our inability to talk frankly about race. Obama is kidding about it—"And did I mention he’s black?"—and McCain is running an ad suggesting "that a middle-aged black Ivy League intellectual is equivalent to a pair of cretinous blonde Hollywood tarts," Anderson quips. Maybe neither will say what a third of black voters have admitted—that race is a major factor in this year's election, Anderson writes.