- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 7, 2008

OPINION/ANALYSIS:

It’s October and time to start throwing the kitchen sink. Throwing the kitchen sink is fun because it makes a lot of noise when it shatters against an opponent’s head, particularly when the sink is full of dirty dishes.

The dirty dishes this year are mostly from the Obama’s Good Time Diner on Chicago’s always interesting South Side. However, you’re not supposed to criticize Sen. Barack Obama, because only racists do that. Good citizenship requires keeping some dirty dishes segregated. But somebody forgot to tell Gov. Sarah Palin, the Wasilla housewife who knows about sinks and stones and stacks of dirty dishes. Her displays of Mr. Obama’s dirty dishes from Chicago frees Sen. John McCain to mine the rich vein of Democratic contributions to the corruption of the nation’s economy.

She’s having fun making noise. “Our opponent,” she told a rally the other day in Colorado “… is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”

She’s talking about Mr. Obama’s continuing friendship with William Ayers, a founder of the Weather Underground, terrorists who bombed the Capitol and the Pentagon in the ‘60s. Mr. Ayers is a “distinguished” professor now at the University of Illinois at Chicago, still so unrepentant that on the very September 11 that terrorists brought down the Twin Towers, he boasted in the New York Times that he only wished that he and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, had wrought more mayhem on America in their soup and salad days.

The Associated Press, now officially liberated from its traditional role as the standard of factual neutrality to which newspapers once aspired, cited this as “racially tinged” rhetoric by “the Republican campaign, falling behind Obama in the polls.” Other glassy-eyed followers in the cult agreed. The senator himself avoided the substance of Mrs. Palin’s remarks and accused Mr. McCain of “gambling that he can distract you with smears, rather than talk to you about substance.” He sounds actually grateful for the distraction from the Democratic role in the Wall Street meltdown.

The Obama campaign has come up with a kitchen sink of its own, a 13-minute argument of moral equivalency for Internet distribution about Mr. McCain’s conversations two decades ago with banking regulators on behalf of Charles Keating, the president of a failed savings and loan and a friend and one-time campaign contributor. The Senate Ethics Committee eventually cleared Mr. McCain of wrongdoing, but the repentant senator nevertheless called the episode “the worst mistake of my life.” Mr. Obama denounced the works of his unrepentant terrorist friends and noted that he was “8 years old” when they were plotting to blow up as much of Washington as they could. No one accused Mr. Obama of being an accomplice, only of “palling around” as a grown-up with the unrepentant felon and his moll. Distinctions are meant to get lost in October.

Mrs. Palin can expect to be pilloried for the audacity of straight talk; the mainstream media are as determined as ever to collude with the Obama campaign to avoid talking about the senator’s carefully hidden past, his murky associations in Chicago and the ambience of windy mischief from which he sprang (in virginal innocence).

This is legitimate grist for Mrs. Palin; revealing the low-down on the high-up on the other ticket is what vice-presidential candidates do. But few voters will concern themselves with crimes of political passion or even the coddling of vicious criminals while they’re watching their life’s savings disappear in a vapor of man-made poison. It’s still “the economy, stupid,” and the fingerprints of Democratic corruption are all over this disaster, crying for airing.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are only components of the disaster, but they’re the origins of the subprime-mortgage crisis that got the disaster started, and certain prominent Democrats treated Fannie and Freddie as their very own ATM. Barney Frank, whose “lover” was a senior executive at Fannie Mae, famously said he wanted to “roll the dice a little bit more toward subsidized housing.” Another Democrat on Barney’s House Financial Services Committee insisted there was “no crisis” at Fannie and Freddie, and most devastating of all, Barack Obama himself, for once not merely voting “present,” led the resistance to John McCain’s attempt to put the brakes on Fannie and Freddie recklessness while there was still time.

Maybe Tom Brokaw will think to bring this up at tonight’s debate.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.