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« Obama Negotiating Half Hour Ad Buy in Primetime, Oct. 29 | Main | How Gallup Chose Its "Undecided" Voters »
October 09, 2008

McCain's Uncertain Trumpet on Ayers

Yeah... I noticed this myself when I watched the Ayers ad earlier. "No one cares about washed up terrorists?"

Malkin doesn't like it:

Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard reports more details — including something that made me grit my teeth last night when I heard him say it on FNC last night. Quit saying you “don’t care” about Ayers’ terrorist record. Stop that!

In response to a broad question about how Barack Obama “got here” — presumably got his lead — John McCain didn’t name Bill Ayers but spoke of him directly. McCain said “We don’t care about an old washed up terrorist and his wife” who said earlier this decade that he wished they were more successfu. (Several in the crowd chanted: “Yes we do!”)

I realize what he's trying to do but, frankly, it's chickenshit. If you're making an issue of Obama's association with a terrorist, you cannot simultaneously proclaim you're doing nothing of the sort. It doesn't fly.

Further, even if he could somehow find the right rhetoric to make such a have your cake and eat it too case, the media would still accuse him of McCarthyism. Obama's camp and the media (but I repeat myself) will and have accused McCain of racism for saying anything at all about Obama. McCain's attempt to fight off charges of McCarthyism are doomed.

But if it were just a case of futility of gesture, I wouldn't care. The problem is that McCain is -- from his own mouth -- asserting that Ayers doesn't matter. That it is, in Obama's favorite word, a mere "distraction" from the "real issues."

So while McCain is attempting to make an issue of Ayers, he's on record, in the same speeches and commercials, telling the public Oh, by the way, this doesn't matter; disregard it entirely.

Dude, commit. Own it. This half-hearted attempt to save your reputation with the Media Elite you once called friend is going to be the epitaph on your political tombstone.

If you don't think Ayers is worth mentioning, don't mention him.

If you do think this is important, then say so, and stop equivocating in order to appease a Media Elite who despise you and always will.

As Yoda said: "Do, or do not. There is no try."

Either Ayers is a real campaign issue or he's not. If he's not, then stop with the nonsense and focus like a laser on Fannie and Freddie (which, until recently, McCain also didn't want to talk about).

If he is a campaign issue, for the love of everything holy stop telling the public he's not a campaign issue in your own campaign commercials and speeches.


And in the words of Jerry Maguire, to help drive home this point:

Help me help you, John McCain.

Vid: This doesn't include the "no one cares about a washed up terrorist" line, which I think came right before.

As you can see, he's saying Ayers doesn't matter per se, but Obama's honesty does.

Well, the trouble with that is if Ayers doesn't matter per se, then Obama, even if he is lying, is lying about a triviality, and the public is quite used to serious lies by politicians. A lie over a triviality they won't even blink at.

If Ayers doesn't matter -- and the only question is Obama's honesty over a trivial detail -- then why not start running hard-hitting ads questioning Obama's commitment to giving up smoking?

I understand the dilemma-- the public doesn't like negative attacks and tend to punish the party making the negative attack almost as much, if not more, than the attacked party.

So politicians would like to have the media raise such questions, thus avoiding bringing the attack up themselves, while getting the benefit of having the negative information out there.

But that isn't going to be the case here, I think it's pretty clear to say. The media will not ask Obama a single difficult question. They will not do John McCain's "dirty work" for him; they had to be dragged kicking and screaming to even do a tiny bit of Hillary's work for her, and she was a Democrat that just shy of half of them supported.

Yes, there's a downside to going negative. I'm afraid McCain doesn't have a choice, though. He needs to roll the dice and gamble that negative campaigning will hurt Obama more, because if he continues letting the situation remain unchanged, he's on a glide-path to a defeat worse than Bob Dole's.

Palin! I was just going to suggest that McCain explain this situation to the public -- that routinely, the media would ask these difficult questions, sparing a candidate of the need to ask them himself. Perhaps that would make it go down easier -- and embarrass the media into asking.

Okay, that last part is insane.

But Palin already sort of did say this:

Sarah Palin, following up, took a shot at the media. "Mainstream media isn't already asking all these questions, you guys have to help us....When will the questions be asked and when will we get answers?!"

Incidentally, the media never asks specific questions of Obama -- which would yield answers that could prove false.

The only people providing "specific answers" are Obama's spokesmen and surrogates-- Axelrod, for example, claiming that Obama didn't know of Ayers' terrorist past before the 1995 coffee that launched his career.

They do that because if they're shown to be lying, the aide can just say he was "misquoted" or "misspoke" or "misunderstood the question."

Thus, they can tell all the lies they want with little danger of it harming the candidate.

The key is to get the candidate himself to commit to an answer -- or equivocate and avoid answering.

But the media won't do that -- they don't want to get Obama on the record about this. They suspect his campaign is lying, but they want to keep those lies viable. And they don't want to expose Obama to the great danger of being caught in a public lie.

No one in the media gets Barack Obama himself to say precisely when he met Bill Ayers. Or precisely when he learned he was a terrorist. Or if Bill Ayers hired him directly for the Annnenberg job, and if so, why he chose a third-year law student to handle $150 million in money.

Obama doesn't want to answer these questions -- and the media knows why.

So they'll instead continue reporting the lies of Axelrod and Plouffle, knowing that if, somehow, the truth gets out, a simple apology and statement that "David Axelrod misspoke" will make the fallout go away.

At his next debate, McCain should -- if he really wants answers -- ask Obama specific questions, and let the public watch him commit to lies, or, more likely, continue dodging the questions.

For Example: Charlie Gibson doesn't ask anything specific about Bill Ayers. Instead, he asks, vaguely -- allowing Obama any sort of general response he likes -- whether McCain is right when he says "the public doesn't know the real Obama" and whether or not he'll have to deal with Ayers again, now that Palin has brought it up.

McCain and Palin are making assertions -- that the Obama-Ayers relationship was closer than Obama admits. Why does not Gibson simply ask about specific details to determine if these assertions are accurate or not?

digg this
posted by Ace at 04:58 PM

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