John McCain's campaign is looking more and more desperate. It has been happening ever since he made the statement that the "fundamentals of our economy are strong," then spent the rest of the week bouncing around the economic issue like a pinball bouncing off of rubber bumpers before it finally slides by the flippers. Quite frankly, two weeks ago, McCain scared me to death. At the end of the week, desperate to gain the "upper hand" on the economy issue, he suspended his campaign to go back to D.C. and whip up the Congress into action. Some leader! After he'd been there for a day, one Senator publically begged President Bush to tell John McCain to go back on the campaign trail so that they could get some work done.
So, here we are two weeks later. McCain's dream of being president is clearly slipping away from him. Independents are now polling toward Obama in large numbers. Obama now has a solid lead in all the "Kerry" states and he could possibly turn some solid red states into battleground states. This weekend, Sarah Palin was in Nebraska of all places. When a Republican v.p. candidate has to campaign in Nebraska 30 days before the election, you can bet the party is in trouble.
And then she started the talk about William Ayers. She finally read a newspaper, the New York Times, and saw the story about Obama's very casual connection with Ayers, a 1960s radical who is now a citizen in Chicago. Did he do some very bad things in the 1960s? Yes? Should he have been prosecuted? Yes. But the fact is that (1) He hasn't done any "terrorist" acts in at least 40 years and (2) There is no evidence that Obama has anything more than a casual acquaintance with him. So, here's what Governor "Perky" said about him:
"Our opponent ... is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country." And then she said this: "This is not a man who sees America like you and I see America."
Do you see what's happening here? They are trying to create suspicion about Obama. They are trying to create a narrative about him. They are trying to "swiftboat" him. By saying that he's connected to a 1960s radical, (a terrorist) they lead people to go mentally to his name "Barack Hussein Obama." That then leads to the Jeremiah Wright stuff with the thought that maybe Obama "hates his country." Or, perhaps it plays into the silly paranoia that he's really a Muslim.
Sarah Palin ought to be ashamed of herself. This is sleaze to the power of 10! The McCain Campaign is out of options. So they are slinging mud against the wall hoping something will stick. Here's the thing. Our nation is in perhaps the worst potential crisis of my lifetime. We are fighting a war on two fronts that has no end in sight. Our economy is very close to a deep recession, if not depression. The Dow fell today more than 800 points. People are losing their jobs. Banks are failing. And instead of the McCain Campaign inspiring the electorate with hope. Instead of making voters feel like as Americans we can be strong again. Instead of offering solutions and reasons why they should vote for him, McCain and his surrogates spend the last 3 days talking about a 1960s radical who did dispicable acts when Obama was 8 years old! Talk about out of touch!
Here's what Barack Obama ought to do tomorrow night in the debate. He needs to find the moment when this crap about Ayers comes up. And he ought to say this:
"John, you and I have served together in the U.S. Senate for several years now. We are colleagues. Are you saying that you truly believe that I have been consorting with terrorists who want to destroy our country? Do you stand by that statement? If so, that is a monumental charge to make against a fellow U.S. Senator duly elected by the state of Illinois. If you truly believe this, why are you not calling for hearings? And if William Ayers is so dangerous, why has not the Department of Homeland Security called him in for questioning under the Patriot Act? Do you truly believe this about me? Do you stand by those comments?"
That would put McCain on the defensive and it would electrify the press. Tomorrow's debate should be interesting.