For the past few months, Sen. John McCain's reelection campaign has operated on the assumption that if it can depict primary challenger J.D. Hayworth as fundamentally unserious, voters will recoil.
On Monday, the senator kept at it, releasing a new web ad -- presented in the form of a spot created and approved by Hayworth himself -- that can best be described as a "greatest hits" list of bizarre and brash statements by the former representative.
Billed as "A Special Message from J.D. Hayworth," it paints the Tea-Party-favored Senate aspirant as someone more interested in confirming President Obama's birth in Kenya (and stopping man-on-horse marriages) than tackling serious issues. In between, there are gratuitous references to Dracula, space aliens, and a Radar magazine article calling Hayworth one of the least bright members of Congress.
Considering just how quickly McCain himself has dropped pretenses of political moderation (denying, for example, that he every called himself a maverick), it takes a certain amount of chutzpah for him to accuse his opponent of lacking seriousness. But Hayworth has made the case easy -- certainly with his dabbling in birther conspiracies. And in the process, he's demonstrating just how hard it is to walk the line between Tea Party activism and sensible conservatism.