The McCain campaign, still terrified of the right-wing lunatic fringe.

Mark Kleiman, following up, makes an interesting point: “I think the fact that Bill Ayers, due in large part to his connections with the Chicago economic elite (his father ran the local electric utility), was allowed back into what passes for decent society there reflects badly on the morals of elite Chicagoans.”

Generally speaking, I think it’s good for the health of society when former offenders are encouraged to be functioning, law-abiding members of society, so I’m hesitant to agree. It’s unfortunate that such a conversion is much easier for Ayers (not to mention his wife, an NU prof and former chi-chi law firm employee), thanks to his economic and educational advantages over the majority of former criminals, but that’s a slightly different issue. Also tenuously related to the subject: I tend to attribute the focus on Ayers not to any media ideological bias but to the story’s simplicity and sexiness, but you’d think that the fact that the would-be head of McCain’s transition team is tied to lobbying efforts on behalf of Saddam Hussein, in the wake of the first Gulf War, would be no less so.