The Left, the Obama media, and the Messiah's campaign cry "personal attacks." Sarah Palin trivializes with phrases like "palling around with domestic terrorists." McCain wobbles from "liar" to" a decent person, a person that you do not have to be scared [of] as president of the United States," and back again. But Obama's associations are still an important, and in fact a fundamental issue for voters.
Re ACORN, Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Frank Marshal Davis, Khalid Abdullah Tariq al-Mansour, Rashid Khalidi, Raila Odinga, and all of the assorted leftists and figures of ambiguous or veiled allegiance that form an unbroken chain throughout Obama's life, it is not a question of "palling around." It is a question of shared worldview. The only candidate who has surrounded himself with and befriended a freak show of racists, anti-Semites, and America haters is Barack Obama. This isn't guilt by association. These are Obama's life experiences. And you'd think it would be more problematic than a few people in an audience shouting out some nasty things about Obama.
The task is not, as McCain suggested respecting Ayers, to demand, "We need to know the full extent of the relationship." Spoken like a true Senator — tell somebody else to do something. The task is for McCain to behave like a leader and rouse himself to explain the significance of these relationships in so far as what they tell us about the philosophical and historical understanding that will inform Obama's decisions and choices as president.
It is the tactic of the Left to shout down such efforts or demonize the messenger. John Lewis was Obama's perfect surrogate for such a ploy. It is also their tactic to redefine terms and misuse the language. So, we have the situation where raising Obama's relationship with racists is said to be racist. I understand this, and I understand Saul Alinksy. But it must be done and done effectively. This is not to say that this is the only course of conduct for the McCain campaign. There's actually so much out there for McCain to focus on that his failure to do so in a coherent way is frustrating as hell — including explaining the destructiveness of Obama's extreme big-government beliefs and proposals, should they be implemented. But McCain must have the will to engage in this fight or he will lose badly — we will lose badly.