The video of McCain and Palin appearances and the hostility and suspicion toward Obama is appalling, but it's hard to imagine that playing well outside of the party faithful. This campaign started absurdly early, so people have spent more than a year seeing and hearing Obama. Are the moderates and undecided going to really decide that this calm, seemingly measured guy is really a terrorist? An enemy of the state? Similarly, it's hard to imagine that Ayers and Wright will have any traction outside of the faithful because the stories themselves are old news having first come up months ago during the primary season. McCain and Palin don't have fresh news, or even fresh spin on them; all they have is greater volume and urgency, brought on by the nearness of the election.
Who are moderates and undecideds going to go to - the guy who has seemed on message and engaged in issues for the last year-plus, or the guy who has skittered erratically from crisis-oriented decision to crisis-oriented decision in radical steps? And will they really believe that the guy who thought Palin was a good idea, who gambled and tied himself to an economic crisis that's likely to get worse before it gets better, and who runs as an outsider despite a quarter-century in Washington when he tries to tell voters they don't know the real Obama? I think the polls are telling us the answers. Desperation is sad stench, and it's strong on him.