John McCain’s campaign got its first opportunity to show how seriously it wants to avoid getting into the identity-politics meltdown in the Democratic primary. The campaign suspended Soren Dayton, a former blogger now working for McCain, for sending the link to a YouTube regarding Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright over a Twitter message:

An aide to John McCain was suspended from the campaign today for blasting out an inflammatory video that raises questions about Barack Obama’s patriotism.

Soren Dayton, who works in McCain’s political department, sent out the YouTube link of “Is Obama Wright?” on twitter at 12:31 today with the tag, “Good video on Obama and Wright.” It has since been taken down. ….

Informed that Dayton was circulating the video, McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said he had been suspended and “reprimanded by campaign leadership.”

“We have been very clear on the type of campaign we intend to run and this staffer acted in violation of our policy,” she said.

I’m conflicted by this. I know Soren, and he’s a pretty good guy. He didn’t create the YouTube, and as I wrote this morning, it doesn’t do anything except show Wright, Obama, and his wife Michelle speaking for themselves.

However, McCain has nothing to gain and a lot to lose by getting involved in this controversy. If he stays out of it, the fight remains between Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and now Geraldine Ferraro. If his campaign starts pushing the video or any of the commentary, it will rope McCain into the debate and give the Democrats an outside target. And why give them that escape route now, just when their party is finally being held accountable for its hypocritical pursuit of ethnic and gender politics?

McCain needs to take some action to show how seriously he wants to remain a disinterested observer in the coming meltdown. That means Soren has to get publicly disciplined, unfortunately. I doubt he’ll be on the sidelines for long.  It may not be fair, but … it’s politics.