Victor Davis Hanson effectively takes apart the notion that the McCain camp has taken a nasty turn and rightly directs his scorn at those elements of sometimes conservative bent who have jumped ship on the grounds that this is all just too "distasteful" for their stomachs. On the other hand, Bill Kristol makes a different argument. His stomach has not gone weak, but his brain is telling him that the legitimate attacks on Obama are not working or, at least, are not working in the way they are being offered at the moment. He suggests that this has to do with McCain’s lack of comfort with the style and a failure to understand the primary and common concerns that will move the voters at this late date in an election. The time for planting the seeds of doubt with Wright, Ayers, et. al. was in the summer. Now he should be reaping the crop. It’s too late for planting. Kristol is probably right about how he should proceed going forward.
UPDATE: Michael Medved has been talking about the notion that McCain should stop his attack on Obama for Ayers/Wright (though Mac hasn’t really mentioned Wright) and other questionable associates and suggesting that this idea is only half-baked. It’s true, he says, that focusing on this exclusively or primarily and sectioning it off from the broader campaign--as though it were not related to the big issues in the race (and right now, the only real issue is the economy)--is stupid. It’s not just a question of who Obama likes to hang out with or have tea with or go to fundraisers with or serve on boards with. It’s a question of what other things they share--like ideas. Noting the similarities between Obama and these questionable people in terms of thinking on the issues is not only fair, it could be effective. Is it not, for example, interesting to note that Bill Ayers’s daughter works for Hugo Chavez and that Hugo Chavez is, as most Americans know, a violent and vocal critic of America and of democratic capitalism in general. Doesn’t that have something to do with the economy? To what extent do the people surrounding Barack Obama agree with this sort of critique of our economic system? To what extent does he agree with it? That said, Medved also very much liked Kristol’s article--especially the part that advises McCain and Palin to open up and get back to that looser McCain style of letting reporters--even when they are in the tank for the other guy--have free access to you and your ideas untethered by a manuscript. He needs to look like he’s having fun again.