John McCain as Prince Hamlet: To Insinuate that Obama is a Terrorist, or to Not Insinuate that Obama is a Terrorist, That is the Question?

John McCain is getting LOTS of contradictory advice these days.

Here’s what the NY Times (today) says is dividing Republicans in Colorado:

[N]o subject has more divided Republicans than the one that has been a matter of disagreement in the McCain camp: how directly to invoke Mr. Obama’s connection to his controversial former minister, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., and William Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground who has had a passing association with Mr. Obama over the years.

In Colorado, a traditionally Republican state that Mr. McCain is struggling to keep in his column, the party chairman, Dick Wadhams, urged Mr. McCain to hit the issue hard, arguing that it was fair game and could be highly effective in raising questions about Mr. Obama in the final weeks of the campaign. He said he was surprised Mr. McCain had failed to do so in the debate last week.

“I think those are legitimate insights into who Senator Obama is,” Mr. Wadhams said. “I do not think it is irrelevant to this election.”

But Fergus Cullen, the Republican chairman in New Hampshire, said Saturday that he thought it would be a mistake for Mr. McCain to go down that road, warning that it would turn off moderate voters in his state who have a history of supporting Mr. McCain.

“I don’t think he should be giving into elements of the base who have been asking him to be going after, using Wright, using Ayers,” Mr. Cullen said. “Think about it as an undecided persuadable voter.”

Hmm. Campaign on:

  • emotionally charged and intellectually unserious character attacks that could literally put your opponent in mortal danger of assassination, or
  • issues surrounding the economy and foreign policy

That this is a hard question for Republicans—and hard for John McCain to choose between—is a sign that the Republican party and its nominee are heading for a richly deserved electoral thumping.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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