GRAND THEFT AUTO….What effect has the videogame “Grand Theft Auto” had on actual thefts of autos? “The national carjacking rate has dropped substantially,” reports Steven Johnson in the LA Times today.

Johnson, of course, believes that videogames are a net positive influence on kids, and on the whole I’ve long suspected this might be right. Hillary Clinton, however, doesn’t agree. Or says she doesn’t, anyway, which is, perhaps, not quite the same thing.

It strikes me as a bit degrading, actually, that Hillary has to pretend to oppose violent videogames as a means of gaining heartland social values cred, but I suppose that’s the world we live in. If I were running for president I might do the same. And I guess the upside is that a few speeches denouncing the evils of “Grand Theft Auto” is unlikely to do any real damage. We should be grateful that at least she doesn’t feel compelled to argue for tougher drug laws or bombing Mecca or something.

I do wonder, though, what she’s up to. After she finishes her supposed “move to the center,” which appears to consist of little more than a few harmless rhetorical flourishes, will she then produce some genuinely big ideas to base her notional 2008 candidacy on? If so, what will they be? After more than a decade in the national spotlight, I still couldn’t even begin to guess. When will the real Hillary emerge from her cocoon?