Finally, as we reach the dog days of August, the dogs have started barking--I had lost hope for anything really nasty going on in this doldumry presidential race, but then John McCain, down about nine points in latest polls, released his lovely anti-Obama piece, which shows the Democratic candidate refusing to visit wounded soldiers and playing basketball while (presumably?) Rome burns. The ad got a lot more play than its six paid airings (as did Lyndon Johnson's "Daisy" piece in 1964, which only had one paid appearance but was repeated endlessly on the news) but it remains to be seen how effective it will be, since its specifics are so easily rebutted--Obama was indeed shooting hoops, but with soldiers in Kuwait.
Still, its a promising start, and much better for McCain than scarfing down bratwurst while Obama tours Berlin. In the meantime, McCain opponents have been having a field day with homemade videos portraying him as the clumsiest and dumbest Republican presidential candidate since, take your pick, Gerald Ford or Ronald Reagan. This latest is just one. So far, some 98 days from the finish line, Obama is winning handily, but it remains to be seen how he will fare under a relentless assault of nasty campaigning which, despite protests from McCain's people, is coming down the pike.