Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Why even bother to raise funds when a writer for the Arts section of The Washington Post will write your campaign ads for free?

Attaboy! The Fetching Doggedness Of John McCain

By Libby Copeland
Washington Post Staff Writer

...The king of doggedness, who knows something about patience, and something about being a pain, and whose charm and gall derive from that combination, seems to be enjoying himself. He's used to waiting, sometimes for years, to get out of prison camp, to fix immigration and campaign finance and Iraq, to get into the White House.

...At rallies, he ... introduces his spry 95-year-old mother, telling the story of how she went to France but they told her she was too old to rent a car.

"So she bought a car and drove around France!" McCain says. "Atta girl, Mother!"

Atta girl (and boy) to everyone everywhere who is underestimated.... Even after the polls close on Super Tuesday, and McCain has blown through the Northeast and piled up the most delegates, he is not yet a sure thing, and maybe he's used to dealing with that. The fighting and sticking to it and waiting, rather than the prize....

"Yeah, I'm sorry it's not 40 years earlier," says an attorney named Neil Rossman, 62, who's ... at the Boston rally. "He looks tired. But I'll take him as tired."...

Good grief.

The Democratic nominee isn't going to run against an aged reactionary who's 180 degrees wrong on the war and the tax cuts and health care -- the Democratic nominee is going to be running against this. Between now and November, the coverage of McCain, except in more ideological corners of the right and left, is all going to be like this.

Maybe -- maybe the current conservative crack-up will neutralize this kind of thing. It's much more likely, though, that the wingnut ideologues will fume and fuss and everyone else will get on board the You-Know-What Express. And if we learned nothing from the '06 Senate race in Conecticut, didn't we learn that if centrist voters think you're a tough but charming Capraesque maverick with a twinkle in your eye, you don't need your party's base?

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