The first shots have been fired. The Times of New York has as much as charged Sen. McCain with sexual improprieties and corruption and the networks have run with the story. It remains to be seen whether McCain or the Times will take serious damage in this exchange. Meanwhile the Times of London has weighed in with charges that Obama is a dangerous radical. Gerald Baker writes:
There is a caste of left-wing Americans who wish essentially and in all honesty that their country was much more like France. They wish it had much higher levels of taxation and government intervention, that it had much higher levels of welfare, that it did not have such a “militaristic” approach to foreign policy. Above all, that its national goals were dictated, not by the dreadful halfwits who inhabit godforsaken places like Kansas and Mississippi, but by the counsels of the United Nations.
Though Mr Obama has done a good job, as all recent serious Democrats have done, of emphasising his belief in American virtues, his record and his programme suggest he is firmly in line with this wing of his party.
Read it here.
These, of course, are only the opening strategies and no battle plan survives the first volleys.
Will McCain survive the scurrilous attacks on his character and turn the opprobrium on his assailants? If so the Dems have a secondary theme waiting -- that a McCain presidency will be a mere extension of the Bush regime. Will Michelle Obama learn when to shut her mouth and quit injecting radical and resentful themes into her husband's campaign? If so, the Republicans will trot out national defense themes, charging that Obama is too naive and inexperienced to be trusted. Beyond that things get fuzzy on both sides.
Clearly both sides are pitching their early appeals to a moderate middle that fears radicalism and longs for good government. What turns the campaign will take in future months are hard to discern.
As Hillary said, "now the fun part begins."