So, both campaigns are playing the ‘guilt-by-association’ card with their opponent.  McCain’s tack is a little more obvious: Obama hangs out with unrepentant terrorists and America haters.  Obama’s is a little more subtle: McCain hangs out with the well-to-do and those unsympathetic to the poor and downtrodden.  Thanks to the campaigns of both candidates we find ourselves, once again, considering who do I like rather than whose candidacy has the best ideas for governance.

Now, that being said, it isn’t unimportant who the candidates ally themesleves with.  Depending on the depth of that relationship an association can play an important role in shaping the candidate’s thinking on many issues that would play out in the White House if elected.  It makes sense for McCain to tie Obama to Ayers and others because it may give voters some insight into how Obama thinks.  How a candidate thinks should be important to consider when voting for the President of the United States.  For Obama, his attack on McCain may not be quite as effective.  It makes sense for Obama to alienate voters from some one who can’t identify with their station in life, but it doesn’t necessarily give the voter any insight into how the candidate thinks.

Either way, personality politics is relatively useless in determining what kind of governing a candidate will execute once in office.  I am not the most informed voter out there, but neither am I ignorant of the race for president and some of the various subtexts accompanying the major stories.  I don’t pretend to know the details of how each candidate would govern, but here is my (simplified) summary:

Obama: centralized planning by the government

McCain: free-market approach by the government

It would be refreshing if we could discuss the differences between those two approaches to governance rather than who is cooler or braver.