John McCain talks a lot about honor, said Gary Kamiya in Salon. But now that his “numbers are tanking” he’s resorting to the same old smear tactics conservatives always use when their policies have been discredited. McCain is trying to paint Barack Obama as a “traitor”—his running mate, Sarah Palin, pointed to Obama’s acquaintance with 1960s radical Bill Ayers as evidence that he pals around with terrorists.

It’s not just Ayers, said Frank Gaffney in The Washington Times. Obama made himself vulnerable by palling around with a string of sleazy characters, many of whom share the anti-American politics “espoused routinely from the pulpit of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.” Voters deserve to know how these people have influenced the would-be president’s thinking.

The financial system is melting down, said USA Today in an editorial, our soldiers are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this is what McCain and Palin want to talk about? To be fair, Obama is slinging mud, too, by resurrecting McCain’s long-ago involvement with Charles Keating of savings-and-loan scandal fame. But Obama doesn’t sympathize with terrorists, and McCain isn’t a crook—so can we talk about serious matters?