The last 30 days are going to be unbearably ugly, not only because John McCain's campaign is pledging to make it so, but also because the Obama campaign is ready to hit McCain hard on the Keating Five scandal. Could this be a tactical error on the part of Obama's campaign? Certainly McCain's past associations with Charles Keating are more substantive, more consequential, and more relevant than are Obama's loose ties with William Ayers, but it seemed that the McCain campaign was already imploding. We'll see if it proves wise to jump into the fray instead of standing back and allowing that implosion to happen.
On the other hand, watching Sarah Palin ramp up the culture wars with her (racist?) rhetoric is enough to get just about anyone into attack mode. Watch Paul Begala's reaction on MTP:
(By the way, the article Palin is referring to is this tepid piece from October 3, which debunks many of the lies being spread by right-wing blogs and notes that there is little public record of any contact between Obama and Ayers for the last six years. I don't think that was quite the smoking gun you were looking for, Governor!)
I hope I'm wrong about Obama's "Keating Economics" attack on McCain. Obviously, the Obama campaign has learned the lessons of the Swift Boat debacle, and they've probably concluded that they're going to be hit with the Ayers/terrorism smears (and a broader culture wars attack) whether they go after McCain's past associations or not. It's certainly beginning to look that way, at least.