John McCain and Sarah Palin have been doing everything they can do show a link between 60s radical and ex-Weatherman Bill Ayers and Barack Obama. They mention the two names together as often as they can and run ads all but calling Obama comlicit in the Weather Underground's activities, despite the fact that the Senator was a child when Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn were associated with the group. It's gotten to the point where crowds at the Republicans' rallies now shout out "traitor" and even "kill him" when Obama's name comes up. The campaign says they regret that and wish it didn't happen all while they fan the flames of mob mentality with more of these same charges.
Notice how none of this came up when McCain and Obama met for a townhall debate this week? Obama did and is calling McCain out for it.
"I am surprised that, you know, we've been seeing some pretty over-the-top attacks coming out of the McCain campaign over the last several days, that he wasn't willing to say it to my face," Obama told Charlie Gibson. "But I guess we've got one last debate. So presumably, if he ends up feeling that he needs to, he will raise it during the debate."
I would love nothing more than for John McCain to man up and question Obama directly on what, if any association, he's had with Bill Ayers. Obama seems to welcome it too and gave a preview of his response (emphasis added).
"Why don't we just clear it up right now? I'll repeat again what I've said many times. This is a guy who engaged in some despicable acts 40 years ago when I was eight years old. By the time I met him, 10 or 15 years ago, he was a college professor of education at the University of Illinois . . . And the notion that somehow he has been involved in my campaign, that he is an adviser of mine, that . . . I've 'palled around with a terrorist', all these statements are made simply to try to score cheap political points."
Got that? can we move on now? John McCain apperently can't.
There was mention earlier this week that the McCain camp was going to abandon this tactic, but that was a red herring. They got some headlines about it and for one brief moment the ledes seemed to imply that McCain was "cleaning up" his campaign and refocusing on the issues. But that is horseshit. Just today the campaign released ANOTHER Ayers ad and this one is more sinister than the previous comments.
McCain's problem though is that outside of the frantic Republican base, nobody gives a shit about Bill Ayers. Nobody. And some conservative intellectuals are wise to it but wonder if that will ever sink in with McCain who seems to have taken this whole campaign very personally and is now vindictive. So, why would he NOT bring up Ayers in a face-to-face with Obama if it would deliver that tasty red meat to the base and possibly tarnish his rival's image in the minds of undecideds? Daniel Larison at the American Conservative has a theory:
The reason why McCain was smart, if gutless, to avoid talking about Obama's associations last night is that he and his advisors seem finally to have recognized that invoking Ayers is not an effective tactic. This is remarkable because this tactic is incredibly popular among people on the right who think that talking endlessly about the "surge" is a good idea, and McCain still doesn't understand that the "surge," like his obsession with earmarks, means little to most voters who want out of Iraq anyway.
Or, he's just not man enough to make the charges in person.
Biden weighs in...
"All of the things they said about Barack Obama in the TV, on the TV, at their rallies, and now on YouTube ... John McCain could not bring himself to look Barack Obama in the eye and say the same things to him ... In my neighborhood, when you've got something to say to a guy, you look him in the eye and you say it to him."