I don’t think people get Ayers.
The two important things about Ayers are that (1) it had the ability to pierce the MSM veil and (2) it creates doubts about Obama’s character and agenda. Sometimes you throw spaghetti at the wall and you work with what sticks. Odinga is not sticking. Trying to pin Jim Johnson on Obama did not stick. McCain went from have a lead in the polls to being down double digits while Republicans bickered about the bailout and tried weave elaborate theories of blame and educate the public on the obtuse issues involving the economy. Ayers stuck. It broke the pro-Obama media narrative when nothing else could. Now, ACORN is sticking. You can’t always beat your head against the wall and demand the world see things your way. Sometimes, you have to roll with the media cycles.
Ayers stuck because it is a simple, striking and verifiable link. Obama is friends with a guy who bombed the capitol, is glad that he did and still wishes he blew up more buildings. This is not about the past. It’s about Ayers right now. Go into a local bar or a local diner; engage undecided voters in casual conversation about Ayers and it will raise eyebrows. Go into a local bar or a local diner; engage undecided voters in casual conversation about Jim Johnson and you will get a shoulder shrug.
It’s about electoral politics. Believe it or not, this election isn’t going to be decided by political junkies who spend their days surfing the internet and reading articles on the housing crisis. It’s probably going to be decided by people who don’t give a crap about politics, but who vote anyway and who are going to make a “gut” decision. They are not going to base their decision by comparing notes and dissertations on free markets and the role of regulatory entities.
Yes, the economic issue is MOST important, but that is for McCain. Negative attacks work and they are for 527s and the Vice President. McCain needs a tight economic message that resonates. He doesn’t need a six minute youtube video linking the housing crisis to Jimmy Carter to Barney Frank to Franklin Raines to Obama. There is no time for that. He needs a couple of sharp, concise, pungent economic attacks and proposals that resonate and he needs to do that at the Wednesday debate.
The biggest things preventing McCain from getting traction on the economy is the media. “The One” is back. No one questions Obama’s truthfulness, his vagueness, his disjointed rhetoric. It is really tough to win substantive arguments on the economy when one candidate can get away with lying and still has such high positives with the public. “The One” campaign worked because it undermined Obama’s image despite the media. That’s what Ayers does.That’s the key to understanding Ayers and the character attacks. It may not always be reflected in the polls, although the character attacks have stopped the bleeding that the meandering economic conversations caused. But those attacks have damaged his IMAGE. Attack Obama’s image first and then you can hit him on economic substance. It is the mortar fire that softens an enemy before the invasion. The economy is for Wednesday’s debate. Until then, the blogosphere should push Obama’s negatives ups. Get people to doubt him and to doubt the media portrayal of him. Ayers, Dohrn, Farrakhan, Rezco and Wright make Obama look shady and untrustworthy. Sowing those seeds of doubt helps the substantive arguments like the economy.
And one more note on the economy. The truth is that the public blames just about everybody and there is plenty of blame to around. On conservative sites, I read so much about Fannie and Freddie. But when I talk to Joe Sixpacks and Hockey Moms, they are just as mad at Fuld, at AIG, at the excess and greed on Wall Street. We clobber Dems with Fannie and Freddie. They come right back and make us look like the party of Wall Street and corrupt big business. This is not an entirely partisan issue and the people know that. Our whole culture is corrupt on credit. Reducing this reality to just Fannie and Freddie runs the risk of making Republicans look petty and narrow minded.