This is not a man who sees America as you and I do '97 as the greatest force for good in the world.'a0 This is someone who sees America as '93imperfect enough'94 to work with a former domestic terrorist who targeted his own country.
Palin's idea here is to otherize Obama. "He is not one of us." The idea that Barack Obama doesn't see America as the greatest force for good in the world (who does he think the greatest force for good in the world is?) is an attempt to make him look unpatriotic, just like statements McCain/Palin have made in the past that accuse Obama of wanting to lose a war in order to win a campaign, or that he doesn't want to "win" in Iraq (they've yet to actually define what "winning" means in Iraq).
According to Bill Kristol (by way of Mark Halperin), Palin wants to bring Jeremiah Wright back from wherever he's been (I'm assuming somewhere in Steve Schmidt's basement). She will likely face some questions about her own preacher as well. (note: some of those links are not safe for work, unless your office is cool with anti-semitic hate speech). There are lots of other honorable commentators weighing in on McCain's decision to go negative, including this gem from Burt Prelutsky at Town Hall:
I am troubled by the thought that McCain'92s reluctance to tell the unpleasant truth about Barack Obama is because the very junior senator is 50% blacker than he is. It'92s bad enough that 90% of black voters decided on no other basis than race to vote for Obama, the allegedly post-racial messiah, when he was running against Hillary Clinton. It will be fatal for McCain if he continues to shy away from confronting his opponent, a radical Marxist and cheap political hack, simply because he lacks the guts to call a spade a spade.
Do you really have to call someone out for being racist if they use the word "spade"?
The problem with Wright and Ayers, and the reason it mattered during the primaries, is that it was at that time breaking news. ABC kept digging up more and more Wright tape, and it was fresh and interesting. Unless there's something new, I think the narrative for the next couple of weeks will be simply that McCain is playing dirty and his unfavorable ratings are shooting up.
The other massive story is the way in which Obama is fighting back: by bringing out McCain's involvement in the Keating Five scandal in a big way. At 11 pm, his campaign is launching a short documentary at this flashy website about the Keating Five and -- this is the important part -- how it relates to today's economic crisis. This attack is news, because I don't agree with conservative commentators who imply that the Keating Five scandal has been beaten to death by the media in this election cycle. Also, this documentary will tie McCain and his tendency toward deregulation to the current crisis. As Ben Smith notes:
First, Obama's campaign has been notably disciplined in not talking about Keating, so this rollout will perhaps have a bit more pop in the media than the Ayers story, which McCain started talking about a while ago, and which was raked over pretty thoroughly in the primary.
Second, Keating is a story both more and less damaging for McCain than the Ayers story for Obama.
More damaging because the story of McCain and Keating is not guilt by association; it's guilt by guilt.
Whatever you think of Obama, this video and website is a prescient and stunning move by his campaign, and it will get some attention for that as well.
Some final notes: There's an interesting article on Steve Schmidt, the strategist behind the McCain campaign, in today's LA Times that's worth a read. And the news on the Alaskan front is that seven employees that initially said they'd offer their testimony in the Troopergate probe, then changed their minds after Palin was selected as Vice-President, have now decided again to testify.
That's it for today. Let me know what you think about the Keating Five documentary. Is it truthful? Does it matter?
Update: A couple of other links from the Moderate Voice: In one, a Managing Editor decides to vote for Obama (and tells us why), and another explores negative campaigning on both sides.