But he and his new Rovian advisors now realize they won't have a prayer in November unless they can motivate the conservative base and (to use Lee Atwater's charming phrase) "strip the bark" off Obama. And they have to do it NOW, so McCain can pivot back to a softer, more upbeat message in September.
So that's exactly what McCain is doing – instantly, unapologetically, without shame or embarrassment. His enormous cynicism about the political process and his contempt for the voters – not to mention his vast sense of self-entitlement -- have led McCain to take the same low road as the Bush family and its various henchmen (Atwater, Rove): Whatever works; whatever it takes.
And so it’s finally dawning, even on his media "base" (ever the hapless clowns in our political theater of the absurd ) that McCain isn’t quite the straight-talking, straight-shooting military man of honor they thought he was. The White Knight has morphed into the Great White Hope – the GOP machine’s last, desperate chance to avoid the mortal humiliation of being defeated not just by a Democrat, not just by a liberal, but by a liberal Democratic black man.
Billmon was one of the greatest voices of sanity in the 2000-2004 period, spanning the election debacle, 9/11, and the invasion of Iraq. A great analyst and a great writer.