Conservatives have been fretting: When is John McCain going to attack? When is he going after the Democrats in Congress who contributed to the financial collapse? The answer is, apparently, now.
The Washington Post reports:
Sen. John McCain and his Republican allies are readying a newly aggressive assault on Sen. Barack Obama’s character, believing that to win in November they must shift the conversation back to questions about the Democrat’s judgment, honesty and personal associations, several top Republicans said. . . Two other top Republicans said the new ads are likely to hammer the senator from Illinois on his connections to convicted Chicago developer Antoin “Tony” Rezko and former radical William Ayres, whom the McCain campaign regularly calls a domestic terrorist because of his acts of violence against the U.S. government in the 1960s.
And he seems to be inching up on the notion that there was something other than Wall Street “greed” behind the Freddie Mac-Fannie Mae debacle:
Speaking in Pueblo just as the House was finishing deliberations on the package, McCain blamed fellow lawmakers for the failure to adequately regulate the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“It was the Democrats and some Republicans in the Congress who pushed back and did not allow those reforms to take place, and that’s a major reason we are in the trouble we are in today,” he said. “Those members of Congress ought to be held accountable on November 4th as well.” Before the bailout crisis, aides said, McCain was succeeding in focusing attention on Obama’s record and character. Now, they say, he must return to those subjects. “We are looking for a very aggressive last 30 days,” said Greg Strimple, one of McCain’s top advisers. “We are looking forward to turning a page on this financial crisis and getting back to discussing Mr. Obama’s aggressively liberal record and how he will be too risky for Americans.”
The question which immediately springs to mind: is there time? That largely depends on how effectively this barrage will be. If McCain carries the attack into the debates with specifics (Why did you serve on a board with a terrorist?) there is plenty of time. If McCain does not fall back into “dear Senate colleague” speak there is time. If he constructs an effective critique of Obama’s tax and spend plans and doesn’t dwell on Bear DNA and Woodstock musuems there is plenty of time.
But if it half-hearted and does not come from the lips of the two candidates, all the time in the world is not enough.