It seems to me that the tenor of commentary on Obama and attack ads has been shifting. During the primaries he was questioned for not responding to Clinton’s attacks on him. His grit and ability to withstand Republican attacks was questioned. “You must defend yourself,” he was told. As time passed Kerry’s failure in 2004 became increasingly attributed to his failure to respond to the reprehensible Swift Boating campaign. His failure to articulate a rational response to questions about the war and the like was pushed farther and farther back in discussions as Swift Boating became the explanation of choice for the election results.
McCain predictably has launched attack after attack (in response McCain first for Obama attacking his wife by saying that they have 7 houses. I learned from the Republican Party four years ago that Kerry had 6. More recently McCain said these ads were caused by Obaba’s refusal to agree to the twon meeting debate format that he proposes.)
Obama does not let a day go by without responding directly to a McCain attack and pointing out its errors. He does this while condemning the sleazy tactics that force him to reply.
But the Democratic breast beating continues! Unless I am reading this wrong, Obama is no longer being admonished for failing to reply, but for failing to respond in kind. Many Democrats seem to want Obama to out sleaze McCain! This would pretty much rule out arguing against the end justifying the means. Change is fine, but wait until you get in the White House before you try it.
I admit I have a healthy dose of political cynicism. (I shutter to think what military adventures await us in October.) Nonetheless, I have to say that my respect for Obama goes up as Democrats get more frustrated that he will not stoop deeply in his campaign.