The conventional wisdom has the 527's being a major boon for the Democrats, and they will destroy McCain's character before we get to November. The main reason is this man
George Soros. I have hypothesized that he puppeteered CFR in order to consolidate more power into these very 527's. This may in fact be true, however it also appears that 527's are an animal no one can control.
In 2004, a small but well financed 527 known as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth nearly single handedly moved the election. When John Kerry decided to make his military service a central theme of his campaign, the SBVT challenged many of his assertions. Had Kerry not made his military record an issue they likely would not even have formed. Since he did, they played a crucial role in the election. Soros, mind you, spent in the neighborhood of nine digits trying to oust Bush last time, and all of his dollars accomplished next to nothing. This small group single handedly changed the dynamics of the race last time.
Thus, just because Soros is ready to reach very deep into his pocket again (I have heard up to a quarter billion) doesn't mean he will be anymore effective. The problem for Soros is that McCain is a known quantity. While Soros will attempt to smear McCain, it is difficult to change perceptions gathered over nearly the past half century. So far, here is Soros' contribution...
The audience can decide however I think Soros had better have a lot more than that if he is going to get any bang for his buck.
If you think about it, it is Obama that is the perfect foil for 527's. Think of 527's as the commercial hatchet men. They will make the sort of vicious attacks the opponents are afraid to make because those sorts of attacks often come back and boomerang.
For instance, I have been harping on Obama's vote in favor of making infanticide legal. So far, this hasn't been an issue in the campaign. Well, a well placed source at a leading conservative 527 tells me they are already working on an ad to highlight this vote.
Frankly, much of what we have seen over the last three months is perfect material for a 527. We all know about Michelle Obama's penchant for saying nutty things. Well, there's no way that McCain is going to attack Michelle Obama. He won't need to. There will be plenty of conservative 527's ready to pounce.
Reverend Jeremiah Wright is the 527's crack rock. There is so much material that any 527 would salivate for that they would never run out of material. McCain has walked on egg shells regarding this issue. I was on a blogger conference call, however, and nearly everyone of the questions related to his condemnation of the North Carolina ad. While he is careful with this subject, I know that the activists are dying to use it. The 527's are the perfect outlet for just such a series of ads.
We've all now seen this photo. The subject of Bill Ayers is also one that hasn't been explored too terribly much. Not nearly as much as many 527's would like. This photo seems like the perfect set up for any number of hit piece thirty second advertising against Obama.
Tony Rezko and all the baggage that he brings is yet another topic that the 527's are custom made to explore.
The San Francisco comments as well as Obama's radical record are all topics that the 527's could also delve into, though those are topics the McCain campaign will likely also explore.
Unlike the competing campaign, 527's don't have to worry about their own image. Remember the SBVT are disliked by a lot more people than they are liked, however that really doesn't matter. Whatever anyone thinks of them, they did plenty of damage to Kerry.
That's where a campaign to expose Obama's vote on infanticide comes in. Such an ad would likely be quite incendiary and provocative. The makers of said ad would immediately get the scorn of liberals and likely most moderates. That matters not. The 527's aren't on the ballot. The message will get out and that is what matters. McCain will be in no more of a position to control the conservative 527's than Obama will be to control Soros.
The main risk for McCain is connections made between the plethora of 527's and his own McCain/Feingold bill. While that is in fact possible, politics has a way of being entirely unpredictable. No one could have predicted that will all the money spent on the left side of 527's in 2004, it was one specific right 527 that made all the difference. Now the conventional wisdom has Soros dominating 527's. We will wait and see, however it is Obama, not McCain, that is the perfect target for the sort of advertising that 527's want to do.