11/06/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

John McCain Gets Dirty

Mom always told me that if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all. But then, Mom was never a Republican running for President. After originally claiming he was going to maintain a civil tone throughout his campaign, John McCain - having fallen behind Obama in the polls and weighted down with the formerly buoyant Sarah Palin - has publicly announced he's going to go character hunting from a helicopter for Barack Obama.

Dirty, or tough, or rough, or however-you-want-to-call-it politics has been a part of electioneering probably since before David was made King waaaay back in the day. But when was the last time you recall a candidate openly announcing going dirty as an actual tactic? But then, when was the last time you recall a presidential candidate "suspending" their campaign at will? That is, when they weren't just openly abdicating states. Still, maybe that's how mavericks operate; they are open and up front about how low they're going to go.

This past weekend, Republican Vice Presidential candidate and self-described pitbull-in-lipstick Sarah Palin made good on Team McCain's threat by claiming Obama's been "paling around" with terrorists. While that byte sounds like he's been golfing with Osama Bin Laden, it's really a finger wag at Obama's association with former Weather Underground radical Bill Ayers.

Bill Ayers is scum.

And Obama does have a very tenuous six-degrees "association" with him. But this is all old news. Palin needed to deliver some kind of October surprise if she were going to try and make the charge fresh.

And in this down economy, John McCain's relationship with Charles Keating is perhaps a bit more relevant (McCain was cleared of any improprieties in the Keating affair, but was reprimanded by the Senate Ethics Committee for having demonstrated "poor judgment").

While the Ayers attack may be an indicator of how Team McCain is going to devolve from here, it's also indicative of just how oblivious they are. It's hard to get dirty in a campaign that's been in the gutter for months. Obama has already survived far Right slurs, innuendoes, exaggerations and lies. What else, what more could McCain possibly hold in reserve?

Certainly nothing that would fall into the category of honorable.

For more perspective go to