May 24, 2008

The Village is having a tough time with John McCain's presidential run. It involves pushing several narratives that for people outside their bubble would appear to be mutually exclusive. Is he a maverick or is he Bush's 3rd term? Is he the reform candidate or does he have issues? The answer is apparently yes to all of those. And he's inconsistent, as is obvious from Andrea Mitchell's characterization of his first (but trust me, not his last) attack on Barack Obama.

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MATTHEWS: I’ve never heard John McCain…well, we all hear about him being mad, I haven’t seen him mad. But he looked like he sounded mad this week when he said Obama is a basically the term “chickenhawk”. He’s talking about the soldiers like he cares for them, he never served himself. That’s the first time I heard John McCain make that shot at somebody for not having served.

MITCHELL: That’s right. In fact, he never made that shot at Bush and Cheney, who were, you know, boomers who could have gone to Vietnam. So he let them have a pass and here you have a young man whose only war could have been perhaps Grenada at his age? [LAUGHTER] The volunteer army? And yet he said that he had shirked his responsibility of going into the Armed Services. I think that is really the tack he is going to take. It was the harshest attack on Barack Obama by John McCain yet. And it’s all about not being able to meet the “Commander–in-Chief” test.

But my favorite is David "Bobo" Brooks, who is clearly invested in the "McCain is not the same as Bush and is just a really swell guy" meme":

BROOKS: First of all, he is different from (Bush). I mean, he ran against him in 2000, there was no love lost. There are major policy areas that are different. What’s lacking in McCain campaign is a thematic difference. To label something is to own it. And he hasn’t labeled his approach to politics, to his approach to the country. He said, okay, I’m with him on this policy. I’m not with him on that policy. A lot of little policies. There’s been no major theme. And there are a lot of Republicans that say he needs a theme, and the theme has to be reform. Bush didn’t make things work. I’m going to make things work. And that’s not conservative, that’s not liberal. He’s a bad left/right ideologue, he’s just bad at that. But he’s a good reformer.

KAY: But David, if you look at how he’s doing –compared to his party in the polls—actually this process of a policy here and a policy there is not doing him too badly.

BROOKS: Well, I would say that’s because of character. People essentially know who John McCain is. They essentially like McCain, they have no clue who Barack Obama is. And so he’s tied on character. But I think that to get over the hump he has to have an affirmative vision. And he has little bits of a vision, but he hasn’t put it all together yet.

Need I provide any more proof that Brooks and reality are mutually opposing concepts?

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