Did Obama “go too far” in ads questioning Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain? Normal campaign rough and tumble? Legitimate area of inquiry about who Mitt Romney “really is”? What his business credentials actually mean? Distortions that cloud the issue even more than Mitt’s ambiguous retirement date? Proof that Obama is a roughneck Chicago pol? You decide. But Obama should hope for the last verdict, that people see him as a roughneck Chicago pol. He should put “roughneck Chicago pol” on his campaign posters.

Why? Because the GOP is desperate to run against Obama as weak. And specifically, weak on terror. Huh? Why? Because they have to. This charge of Democratic weakness is so ingrained now that they no longer ask themselves if it applies. They ask themselves very little these days, other than how does the portfolio look. They have a new ad up showing how Obama hasn’t been tough ENOUGH on terror, the bin Laden pelt notwithstanding. Among the charges in the ad? Obama stopped TORTURING people. Way to go, GOP! They have stepped in to fill the gap with this ad, which is absolute torture to watch. (I’m not going to link to it). It stars a really crabby lady, someone you hope you will never be seated next to, for anything, ever, complaining that because of Obama, the terrorists are going to kill you soon. A new low? Just wait, I’m afraid. See, they’ve succeeded already in making me afraid!.

However bad this ad is, and it is VERY bad, it is only the beginning of a campaign that will make us all feel like we have been waterboarded. The big GOP rich guy donors expect a return on their campaign investments, so assume the ads will be as coldly ruthless as a corporate downsizing. Expect an attempt to downsize Obama to some stratum of subhuman. If he had long hair they would hold him down and cut it off. People will be watching to see if Obama is weak, like they say. So any punches landed by Obama are likely to be cheered the same way people cheer when the bullied kid stands up and gives the bully one in the nose.