I figured his spokesmen would keep hammering the Birther thing, but a full-blown ad replete with cameo by Orly Taitz? Quoth Ron Burgundy: “Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.”

My feelings about Birtherism are well known and, needless to say, this is an efficient way of marginalizing Hayworth with undecided centrists who might otherwise be weary of decades of maverickiness. (Geraghty was moved this morning to note Hayworth’s willingness to make chitchat with the John Birch Society.) But I hope McCain’s prepared to explain why he’s ready to go bareknuckle on Hayworth by linking him to Taitz when he refused to go bareknuckle on The One by linking him to Rev. Wright. The single biggest knock on his campaign among grassroots righties was that he pulled his punches against Obama after years of “straight talk” about Republicans and conservatives. I guess he figures, a la Romney, he doesn’t have a prayer with grassroots righties anyway and can afford to shrug off their irritation over the double standard, but he’s going to be asked about it. Wonder what the explanation will be.

Exit question per Rush’s critique of Mitt yesterday: Does Bob McDonnell’s endorsement of McCain today mean he’s just committed political suicide too? If Chris Christie ends up backing Maverick, that’ll mean all three Republican heroes of the last few months are in his corner. Some suicide.