With even Republicans admitting that things are not going well in the country (don't pay attention to the fact that it's their policies that got us in this predicament) and Bush suffering from the highest disapproval ratings of any President in the history of the country, the only thing that John McCain can run on is that his presidency would not be the equivalent of a third Bush term. Of course, given that his strategy in Iraq matches Bush's, his economic policies are not predicted to work any better than Bush's has, and that he is woefully behind the curve on issues that really matter to Americans, that might be a tough sell.
But don't tell that to Sen. Lindsey Graham, who appeared on Late Edition on Sunday to tell us that it won't be John McSame. Really. He swears.
BLITZER: In our new CNN Opinion Research Corporation poll that came out this week, “Right Track/Wrong Track”, President Bush’s job approval numbers—as far as his disapproval numbers—it was a record 71% of the American public, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, say they disapprove of President Bush’s job performance. That’s even a higher number than Richard Nixon had at the height of Watergate when he was on the verge of being impeached. Are you surprised that so many Americans disapprove of President Bush’s record over these past eight years?
GRAHAM: It’s frustrating times. You have uh, you have fuel prices going up, food prices going up, you’ve got a war in Iraq that was mismanaged for four years, so there is a very frustrating time in which we live. I’m confident of this, that Sen. McCain is doing well because of what he’s done over his life, over the policies he’s pursued, over his efforts to create bipartisan solutions to hard problems and his Commander in Chief credentials I think trump everybody running for President now and he understood the problems in Iraq better than anyone and calls for a change in strategy and that change has paid dividends, so I understand the frustrations people have. It’s tough being president. I think I know why Sen. McCain is doing much better than the Republican brand name because of the way he’s lived his life and politics and his personal desire to lead in this country and he really is an American hero.
Of course, the reason Graham knows this? Because after seeing a DNC ad discussing McCain's economic policies, all that matters to him is that McCain won't raise taxes. Crippling deficit, bleeding money (literally) hand over fist in Iraq, but God forbid we raise taxes to fund the country's interests.
UPDATE: Very interesting. This campaign tactic of trying to distinguish McCain from the Bush policies (no matter how virtually identical they are) for which Graham and Fiorina were on the front lines came about after the McCain campaign got it signed off by the White House to criticize Bush. Can't risk bringing the wrath of the neo-con machine upon him again.