John McCain has declared that he will confront Barack Obama about Bill Ayers, said Christopher Orr in The New Republic online, but he'll almost surely regret it. Polls suggest the public doesn't care much about Barack Obama's past association with the 1960s-era radical. And attacking Obama in the final debate—while the economy crumbles—will only fuel complaints that McCain prefers attacks over substance.
McCain has been getting a dizzying variety of advice, said John Dickerson in Slate. "Be the happy warrior! Attack! Talk about Ayers! Don't mention Ayers!" But the bottom line is that he's losing and the final debate is his last chance to talk to the public without a media filter, and knocking Obama back, somehow, is the only way he can "take his destiny into his own hands."
Talking about Ayers is surely risky for McCain, said Ruben Navarrette in The Denver Post, but Obama is the one who benefits from sweeping the issue under the rug. Obama has tried to change the subject every time critics have brought up his relationship with the "aging leader" of the Weather Underground bombers. Associating with "ghouls" is no crime, but "lying about it is another story."
Attacking Obama with Ayers is just a way to make this election about the 1960s, said Thomas Frank in The Wall Street Journal. Ayers' "Weatherman days" are in the past, and now he's a "good citizen"—a university professor committed to education reform.
Please, said Dale O'Leary in Human Events, "Ayers is just as radical as ever, only now he has grants." And Obama's admiration for him is an endorsement of a far-left effort to push a "revolutionary agenda" in our schools.