Atlantic: Andrew Sullivan: McCain’s Toothless Attacks

Atlantic: Andrew Sullivan

McCain’s Toothless Attacks

Ross compares the Ayers attacks to past right-wing attack ads:

Bill Ayers can’t win you an election – he can’t come anywhere close, in fact – because unlike Willie Horton, Bill Ayers isn’t tied to any of the issues that are uppermost in voters’ minds. He tells you something about Obama’s judgment, maybe, and his ideological biases, maybe – and yes, yes, with enough innuendo and doomy music, you can imply that he tells you something about Obama’s softness on Islamist terrorism as well.

But think about the directness of the Willie Horton ad. America has a crime problem. You don’t feel safe in your own home. And Michael Dukakis want to make it worse. Think about the directness of the “white hands” ad. The economy is tanking, and the Democrats want companies to hire underqualified minorities, instead of hiring you. And then think about the implications of any Ayers ad the McCain team could cut. The stock market is tanking. The global economy is in peril. And we think the most important subject on your mind should be whether Barack Obama was too chummy with a Sixties terrorist you’ve probably never heard of.

I’m pretty sure that’s a losing message.

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