September 5, 2008

FLEEING MINNESOTA:

McCain talks unity while allies attack (RON FOURNIER, 9/05/08, Associated Press)

John McCain preached bipartisanship and unity from a stage retooled to carry him out to the Republican faithful. He didn't have to be biting: On the previous night, his attack dogs had paved the way. [...]

The fierceness of McCain's surrogates allowed him to serve up red meat to his partisan convention crowd while keeping his hands unbloodied. The next night he stood before the country as a statesman-in-waiting, pledging to reach across the same partisan divide that his allies had widened.

And he was able to call himself a maverick, and define the term without a whiff of irony: "What it really means is I understand who I work for. I don't work for a party. I don't work for a special interest. I don't work for myself. I work for you."

But this week, John McCain didn't have to work for his party. This week, his party worked for him just fine.


It was fine to set up the convention so that others carried the attacks and Maverick could go bipartisan, but if he's going to campaign as a fighter, and convince voters that they want him leading their fights, he's going to have to be the one going after the Unicorn Rider. Beating the stuffing out of Mr. Obama might not have been the fight Mr. McCain would have chosen but it's the fight he's in and he'll be judged by how hard he wages it. Bipartisanship can wait until your partisans are in office.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 5, 2008 9:18 AM
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