But make no mistake: The last 30 days of the campaign will see McCain, Palin and their surrogates turn into an army of Dark Knights of Evil. In fact, the Republican campaign machine admits it.
"We're looking at a very aggressive last 30 days of turning the page on this financial crisis and getting back to discussing Mr. Obama's aggressively liberal record and how he will be too risky for Americans," senior adviser Greg Strimple told reporters on Thursday.
“Very aggressive” and “too risky” is politicode for lies, half-truths, innuendo and surrogate-mounted smears, racial and other.
Freddie And Bill
It’s started already.
A few days ago I received an e-mail from a Deep South conservative Republican raising again the thoroughly discredited claim that the former heads of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are now working for the Obama campaign. Apparently, it’s not enough that both Fox News and The Washington Times – hardly liberal apologists – debunked the smear weeks ago; die-hards will keep spreading the phoney news anyway.
And get this: The AP is reporting this morning that Sarah Palin accuses Barack Obama of "palling around with terrorists" for his association with a former 1960s radical.
Palin is referring to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the group the Weather Underground. The group took credit for several bombings, including non-fatal explosions at the Pentagon and the Capitol four decades ago – when Obama was about eight years old.
In remarks Saturday to GOP donors in Englewood, Colorado, Palin said Obama seems to see the US as being so imperfect that, in her words, "he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."
Her idiotic statements were triggered by a disjointed New York Times story on Saturday that traced Obama’s sporadic interactions with Ayers, now a respected education professor in Chicago where he worked on an education project with Obama when the candidate was a community organizer and then state senator. Palin never mentioned that Ayers denounced his past activities decades ago.
Stephen Fox, contributing editor of the New Mexico Sun News, puts it in perspective:
“I remember meeting Mark Rudd, who either blew up a building or tried to, I don't remember which. I met Angela Davis, and golly, very early one Sunday morning after one of the famous San Francisco Peace Marches to end the Vietnam War in 1967, I even saw Janis Joplin driving a yellow Porsche Convertible about 60 miles an hour through Haight-Ashbury.
"Just because 20 years ago, you befriend someone and talk intelligently with them, what does that mean, anyway? That you are learning. Does that mean you are sitting at the feet of the 9/11 bombers? Of course not, but the Republicans will use this ludicrous and deranged line of reasoning to scare the elderly as they have already done in South Florida, the undecided, the apathetic … who don't read (a newspaper) everyday.”
Meanwhile, undecided voters – how can there actually be any of these still around? – are starting to trend Obama, along with the rest of the country.
Undecided voters who watched Thursday's vice presidential debate like Palin but they're not certain she's ready to lead the country, according to the findings of a new Ipsos/McClatchy poll published Sunday morning.
If they had to vote immediately after watching the debate between Palin and Biden, 52% of the 456 undecided voters who were surveyed would vote the Obama/Biden ticket, the poll found.
It also found that Palin's performance in the debate did nothing to clinch undecided votes for her running mate. Before the debate, those same undecided voters were leaning 56% to 44% for McCain. The day after the debate, the numbers tilted 52% to 48% for Obama.
No wonder the McCain-Palin campaign is starting to throw mud. It’s all they have left.