Notice the deft lifting of both Obama's and Clinton's campaign taglines: the change we've been waiting for, and the readiness on Day One. If Bush the Elder and Bush the Sniveling, Bed-Wetting Chickenhawk Younger are known respectively as Bush 41 and Bush 43 (they actually have matching jackets identifying them as such -- I shit you not), McCain should be called Bush 44.
None of this is lost on the Repubican National Committee, which, while venal, is not stupid. They've been telegraphing their strategy lately, which is to milk McCain's Super American Hero and Patriot cred for all it's worth and use it as a shield to deflect legitimate criticism of McCain the politician. That explains their overheated reaction to this statement from Howard Dean:
"While we honor McCain’s military service, the fact is Americans want a real
leader who offers real solutions, not a blatant opportunist who doesn’t
understand the economy and is promising to keep our troops in Iraq for 100
years," Dean said.
RNC Deputy Chairman Frank Donatelli called the comment a "character smear,"
and said they are the "latest in what has become a troubling pattern where the
chairman of the national party has questioned Senator McCain’s character and
"Howard Dean owes John McCain an immediate apology and both Senators
Clinton and Obama should unequivocally denounce this disgraceful attack,"
"Clearly the RNC recognizes that the biggest threat to John McCain, as we
heard loud and clear from voters in our recent focus groups, is the damage he
inflicted on his 'independent' image and reputation for 'straight talk' by
shifting his positions to make them more acceptable to the right wing of the
Republican Party," she said.
"The truth is that most Americans would likely agree that while we honor
Senator McCain's service, America cannot afford another Bush Republican who
doesn't understand the economy and who wants to keep our troops in Iraq for up
to 100 years," she added.
You go, girl. I hope Dean's remarks and Ms. Finney's salvo are a sign of things to come -- an indication of a new unwillingness to let the GOP and the love-struck press corp frame the terms of the debate. Either we continue taking it right to the bastards as Dean and Finney did, or we'll be road-kill under the tires of the Straight Talk Express, my friends. The choice is ours.