Patrick Ruffini admonishes the Dems:

The most important thing about a good attack is not the attack itself. It's baiting your opponent to respond the way you want him to respond, because only the things that come out of his mouth will ultimately stick.

Obama seems to be falling into the trap of response-centrism. If only they could respond the right way, they figure, all will be well. But it won't be. Because the game they are playing is reactive. Instead of changing the subject off Palin by launching some explosive new attack on McCain, all they do is respond, respond, respond. And the story, day after day, is Democratic Presidential nominee responds to Republican Vice Presidential nominee. The optics of that stink for them.

Unless, in fact, this election is about Palin. And it has to be. She - along with the Iraq war - is the embodiment of McCain's claim to presidential judgment and experience. If she is a fraud, and has been proven a demonstrable liar in ways that a competent campaign would have vetted six months ago, McCain's campaign is over, and deserves to be over. As is the election. I don't see how we can know anything until she has answered a series of obvious, factual questions from the press corps about the truthfulness of her various statements in the public record.

Besides, Obama needs to respond to the insane and desperate lies being lobbed at him. He's not Dukakis. And he should also keep reminding voters that, unlike the McCain camp, who don't want to discuss the issues in this campaign, he does.

Look: we seem to be on the verge of a financial crisis of potentially severe proportions, we have a nuclear-armed rogue state with a leadership in flux in North Korea, we have a direct war between the United States and the Taliban in Pakistani territory - and John McCain wants to talk about "lipstick on a pig" and a woman who didn't know the difference between a Shiite and Sunni two weeks ago. (I'm sure they've programmed her now).

They cannot be serious. I don't believe the McCain campaign is serious about anything any more, except bullying the press and running out the clock. This is the most shambolic campaign I have ever witnessed in a general election. If he runs his campaign this badly, how would he run the country?

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