Brutal: New ad hammers Obama over Ayers; Update: McCain ad on Rezko coming tonight, attacks on Wright now "fair game"; Update: "Despicable," says Obama camp

Was this one set to roll today all along or was it in the chamber and ready to fire in case Obama tried a guilt-by-association ploy of his own first? Either way, acidic stuff. Ben Smith has background on the group that produced it and helpfully starts the lefty talking point rolling on why this is an egregious smear, as all conservative criticism of Obama must and can only be, notwithstanding the facts that (a) Ayers is indeed an unrepentant terrorist and (b) he and the Democratic nominee for president are “friends.”

The group, the American Issues Project, is a 501(c)4 — which means it isn’t required to disclose its donors. According to a press release set to go out shortly, it’s the product of a coalition of conservative groups, including Iowans for Tax Relief. Its president is Ed Martin, a Missouri conservative. Another official, Ed Failor, Jr., is a former McCain aide in Iowa who left after the campaign’s shakeup last summer.

The substance of the ad matches a recent upswing in the McCain campaign’s references to Ayers. The use of 9/11 imagery links Ayers, and Obama, to the American conflict [with] Islamic terror, which is the subject of many viral emails attacking Obama.

The group’s spokesman, Christian Pinkston, called the suggestion that the group is making any link with Islam “unfair.”

“The idea here was to talk about the fact that his friends hate America, and that’s who he’s aligning himself with,” he said.

Riddle me this: If the point is to Islamicize Obama for the ignorant wingnut masses, why include any photos of Ayers? He doesn’t fit the profile of an Islamic terrorist; he fits the profile of what he actually is, a domestic terrorist. They could have easily dirtied this up by not showing his picture or mentioning his name to seed doubt about who Obama’s mystery pal might be. As it is, the narrator specifically refers to the Weather Underground as an “American terrorist group.” Beyond that, though, the left usually loves to point out that domestic terrorists like abortion clinic bombers are every bit as evil as the jihadist movement that so worries hysterical fearmongers like you and me. Which is true: There aren’t as many of them and they don’t have as many apologists, but a truck bomb is a truck bomb is a truck bomb. Morally, they’re equivalent. Just don’t point out that equivalence when you’re criticizing Barack Obama; that turns it into a smear.

I’ve been looking for an excuse to link Ace’s post yesterday about how some smears are more equal than others, so read that after you watch.

Update: Remember, the fightin’ nutroots demanded that their champion fight fight fight back against McCain’s attacks. Now he’s done it and so here’s what he gets, a new TV ad on Rezko that should drop within the hour. New lefty spin forthcoming: Why does McCain insist on fighting when we’re trying to run a polite campaign?

A campaign official said that the decision to Go Rezko was Obama’s. “He’s opened the door to this,” the official said…

Though McCain is widely perceived to to drawn first blood by attacking Obama’s character, the official said that the difference between Obama’s mocking McCain for his wealth and his shaky answer on the number of homes he owns was that McCain’s charge “reflects an existential reality,” where Obama’s charges “attack Cindy. She owns the homes. I thought he said the wives were off-limits.”…

Earlier in the news cycle, McCain’s press team invoked Obama’s friendship with a former member of the Weatherman, William Ayres, and an official said that even Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, “is now fair game.” The official declined to say whether the campaign was contemplating running an advertisement linking Obama to Wright.

Update: I wonder if Obama will roll out his VP announcement sooner than expected to push all the new attacks into the back pages.

Update: Obama’s spokesman goes through the motions:

The fact that John McCain dispatched his paid consultant to launch this despicable ad from a so-called ‘independent’ committee shows how desperate he is to change the subject from his shocking disconnect with the economic struggles of the American people. He knows that Barack Obama has denounced the detestable crimes that Bill Ayers committed forty years ago.

Instead of invoking Paris, Britney and obscure sixties radicals, Senator McCain should take the day off at one of his seven homes to consider whether his support for outsourcing, tax breaks for companies who ship jobs overseas and continued spending of ten billion a month in Iraq is really putting ‘country first.’ To us, it sounds like just more of the same.

The group denies it’s a front. Just so we’re all on the same page: Linking McCain to Jack Abramoff via Ralph Reed, whose connections to Abramoff were actually exposed by the Senate committee McCain chairs, is perfectly fair game but linking Obama to a bona fide terrorist whom he’s denounced but otherwise happily associated with is “despicable.”

Update: I’ve made these same points in other posts about Ayers but it’s worth repeating them now. From Ace:

Does Obama support domestic terrorism? Oh, I doubt that. But let’s also get it on the record, too, that his friendship with Bill Ayers surely must indicate he’s not exactly repulsed by it, either.

That’s an awful lot to get past.

How many unrepentant rapists have you personally befriended in your adult life, Michael? How many convicted but proud murderers? How many such repellent creatures have you found so charming that you could easily put aside qualms about their past crimes to become fast friends with them?

All of this punctuated, of course, but a reminder of how decidedly un-despicable the left would an ad along these lines targeting a conservative who was palsy walsy with an abortion bomber.