This is and will be the great challenge for John McCain: The Democratic argument, now being market tested by Obama Inc., that a McCain victory will yield nothing more or less than George Bush's third term. Peggy Noonan - Wall Street Journal (tip of the hat to James Wolcott)David Seaton's News Links
George Bush has made so many mistakes in the last eight years attempting to run the country, that it is easy to forget that there is something that he is actually very, very good at: campaigning.
For if Barack Obama has managed to turn a vacuum, a veritable empty space, where others have a CV filled with achievement, into a serious bid for the presidency, George W. Bush has gone much, much farther and has turned a quite nasty CV, filled with misadventures, into two terms in the White House.
The President of the United States of America may have little idea about what to do after winning an election, but he sure knows how to win elections. Democrats, having experienced this in their own flesh, would be foolish to misunderestimate George W. Bush the politician. A cornered Bush should cause them some healthy respect.
Here is the problem: Bush the President is radioactive. Peggy Noonan puts it this way,
The Democratic argument, now being market tested by Obama Inc., that a McCain victory will yield nothing more or less than George Bush's third term.A McCain victory will, in many senses, be a vindication of George W. Bush.
For McCain there is no way around this. There is no way that a Republican candidate can completely disown a sitting Republican president. Everybody knows that McCain is not Bush, but a McCain victory would, in a sense, be a plus for Bush's tattered, miserable legacy... in fact it would be a triumph under these circumstances.
Since Bush exists and even if McCain were Harry Potter there is no way that he could conjure him away and at the same time, without a McCain victory, Bush faces being ridden out of Washington on a rail... a pariah.. it is obvious that Bush and McCain have to work together...
Bush is going to campaign for McCain as if his life depended on it... in a sense the rest of his life does. No one has ever failed as publicly and totally as George W. Bush, this is his last chance to pull it out...
All that is standing between George W. Bush and a decent place in history is Barack Obama... Knowing what Bush is capable of, if I were Obama, this would make me very nervous.
This does not mean that the President will be out on the hustings making speeches for McCain, because having Bush speaking for you is every Republican's present nightmare. No, he will be too busy in the White House being the President of the United States.
George W. Bush is going to use the Presidency of the United States of America, with all its power to control the news cycle, to create an environment where Barack Obama's perceived weaknesses: inexperience, naiveté and strangeness, will be shown off to his greatest disadvantage. Bush will attack Obama's position with acts and words. In unscrupulous hands the White House can create an environment of unbearable tension. In this effort Bush may have the inestimable help of Osama bin Laden, who has done so well with the Republicans and would have no reason to desire a change.
The vast resources of the White House and the government of the country will be focused almost entirely on this till November.
While Bush uses the office of the President to play dirty, McCain will simply float above it all, the steady American hero, the maverick, plain speaker of vast experience... feisty, Scotch-Irish against a callow youth of uncertain background. I think he'll pick Huckabee as his VP, a great campaigner, a populist, evangelical, southerner. Here Hillary has clearly pointed the way. Neither McCain or Huckabee will stoop to any dirty stuff. That will be left to the 527s and POTUS. McCain will simply be who he is and Bush will use the power of the presidency to define Obama.
Good cop, bad cop.
I am a hundred percent sure that this is going to be the dirtiest campaign in the history of the United States. DS