Columnist Robert Novak reports that John McCain will not yield to Barack Obama's efforts to shame him into running a vanilla campaign. Instead, he says, McCain is lining up crack research operatives. Interestingly, their charge is not to gather dirt on Obama per se, but "to focus on the real Barack Obama." From where I'm sitting, that looks like one whale of a target-rich environment.
That is, McCain's operatives don't have to dig up dirt on Obama to damage his chances; they merely have to dig through the facade and uncover the real Obama. Even with the damning revelations concerning his association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and former terrorist William Ayers, I suspect Obama explorers have barely scratched the surface.
While Obama will continue to complain that an examination into his associations is dirty politics, it is anything but. We are known by the company we keep, and this goes for applicants for leader of the Free World as well.
But in Obama's case, the McCain researchers will just be getting started with Obama's sordid associations. Where he's really vulnerable -- the area where he most doesn't want you to find out who he really is -- is on policy.
Given his George Soros brand of extreme leftism, Obama will do his best to conceal his real policy self, except to the San Francisco environmental- and social-issues anarchists, the arts and croissants crowd of the Northeast Corridor, and the neo-Marxist professorial elite in academe. Of course, now that he knows microphones and bloggers can pop up anywhere, he won't even feel comfortable letting his guard down in these friendly venues to edify us about such things as small-town bitterology.
Not only is Obama highly vulnerable on policy issues across the board -- assuming people discover what he actually stands for -- but also his main policy weakness (national security) is made to order for John McCain to exploit.
It's obvious that Obama is sensitive to the charge that he's weak on security, but it's not clear that he quite understands why.
Dovish, isolationist types such as Obama don't view it as a weakness, but as a sign of enlightenment to believe that dictators can be schmoozed and persuaded into better behavior. Obama apparently believes Iranian tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reasonable demands that can be satisfied and that he, Barack Obama, might be just the guy to satisfy them. "If I can change Iran's behavior … that's something that we should explore."