John McCain and particularly Sarah Palin have been asking who the real Barack Obama is, and even though Obama explained his relationship with Ayers, repeating the question implies that they know differently. That's the strategy after two years of campaigning - Barack Obama, Man of Mystery. That's the line they're pushing via robocalls, and it's the line that the foot soldiers are going with.
The first post-debate sign of what John McCain is going to focus his campaign on came on Late Night with David Letterman. When Letterman asked if Sarah Palin said Barack Obama palled around with terrorists, McCain says point blank, "yes, and he did" (this line of questioning starts at 19:23 on the video clip). No more dancing around or trying to cast veiled aspersions. McCain has gone all-in on the threat that we may be on the verge of electing the sleeper-est of all sleeper agents president of the United States. Ooooh, that Osama's good.
If Rep Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is a harbinger of things to come, the last two weeks of the presidential campaign are going to get ugly to such an extent that some souls will be stained beyond measure. Friday night, Bachmann's appearance on Hardball was a particularly loathsome, naked appeal to the fear of Obama the Boogeyman, pulling out Ayers, Wright and Tony Rezko. Chris Matthews' started down the right road with her - trying to anatomize the distortion - but it would be nice if someone would have the stick to pursue the crucial step: What exact evil was William Ayers plotting when Obama knew him? What was so dangerous about knowing him when Obama did?
Then again, if there's no answer to who Obama really is, I guess no answer and no line of questioning matters. We've gone through eight years of devaluing information and turning everything into a matter of belief. In yet another way, McCain promises more of the same.