Even Mika’s unhappy.

Twenty-four hours later, I wonder if the real aim of the AP piece wasn’t to punish McCain for mentioning Ayers so much as to warn him away from extending the attack to Wright as part of an omnibus “Obama’s soft on radicals” or “Obama’s unpatriotic” argument. If it’s “racist” to criticize The One for gladhanding a white terrorist, imagine how much more “racist” it’ll be to criticize him for attending a black church, “God damn America” or no. Which probably explains why McCain’s staying away from it, even if Palin isn’t. The best anticipatory read on the AP piece was this post from Ace a few months ago on how some political smears are more equal than others. Accusing The One of insufficient patriotism? A grievous political sin, notwithstanding his association with the occasional Weatherman. Accusing Sarah Palin of racism? Standard political hardball, mundane enough to support the casual slander of an analysis even as half-baked as the AP’s. Even the saner members of the Atlantic’s blog squad aren’t immune from this, with Marc Ambinder wondering whether there’s xenophobia afoot in the GOP wanting to make sure Obama’s returned any illegal foreign (and domestic) contributions he’s received. Does it matter that he actually has received illegal contributions, as all campaigns do, and that because he keeps his roll of small donors secret the FEC hasn’t been able to check to see how many? Only a racist conservative would think so. Click the image to watch.

Update: Stone-cold “racism” from Geraghty. “Could you shake hands with William Ayers?”