Democratic Strategist: All the Nastiness the Market Will Bear

Democratic Strategist

All the Nastiness the Market Will Bear

There’s quite a public debate going on in conservative circles this week about whether or not John McCain should take the lowest road possible in trying to make the rest of the presidential campaign about Barack Obama’s association with scary-sounding people like William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright. What’s most interesting about it is that nobody on either side of the debate seems to have a problem with going that route if it could actually work.

Yesterday, Bill Kristol of the New York Times endorsed robust attacks on Obama about Ayers and especially Wright through the odd lens of “letting Palin be Palin,” on the theory that the spunky hockey mom knew better than campaign operatives how to tear Obama a new one.

Today Rich Lowry of National Review and Ross Douthat of The Atlantic dissented on grounds that “changing the subject” from the economy simply wouldn’t work. And at RealClearPolitics, Jay Cost took a break from numbers-crunching to argue that McCain might as well “change the subject,” since any efforts to convince voters that Republicans could be trusted to fix the economy were simply hopeless.

While as a Democrat I particularly enjoyed the Douthat-Cost debate over which McCain strategy was the more hopeless, it is a bit sobering to realize that these supporters of the Candidate of Honor and Decency and Bipartisan Civility and Country First agreed that there was nothing inherently suspect about trying to make the election turn on “issues” that have nothing to do with anything remotely relevant to the real-life challenges facing the next president. I’ve yet to hear a claim that America faces a dire threat from hippie bomb-throwers or black nationalists. And all that jazz about Ayers and Wright reflecting vital concerns about Obama’s “character” and “judgment” really just represents the self-serving rationalization that anything which could be used to damage him is legit because he’d then be damaged goods.

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