Thursday, August 21, 2008

McSame: The Audacity of Running for Bush's Third Term

Even though it's plainly true, John McCain and his supporters tend to bristle at the suggestion that McCain is in lockstep with George W. Bush on every important public policy matter facing the country. But in other moods, McCain embraces the sameness:

[McCain] declined to outwardly criticize Bush and flatly stated that he wouldn’t do anything as president to underscore his difference with the unpopular incumbent.

“I don’t have any need to show that I’m different than President Bush,” McCain said when asked if he'd take any steps after being elected to demonstrate where he’d diverge from his predecessor. [emphases mine]
McSame went on to make a pledge that should sound emetically familiar to anyone who has observed American politics for the last several years -- he promised he'll play nice while pursuing the exact same policy agenda as Bush-Cheney:
McCain made plain, however, that he would aim to take a far more transparent and consensus-oriented approach than Bush, whose promise to be a uniter, not a divider, was unfulfilled.

“First thing I’d do [as president] is to go to see the speaker of the House and the majority leader of the Senate — I assume that that would be Sen. Reid, I hope not, but I think that’s probably the reality of this election — and I would say, 'Let’s have an agenda, let’s work together. We know what the solutions are, and we know what the options are — Social Security, on restraining spending, on Medicare, on all of these, energy independence, on all of these issues,'” McCain said when asked how his approach to governance and politics would differ from Bush.
If we recall and reflect on Bush's 2000 campaign, we see that McCain's 2008 campaign is more of the same of more of the same, nearly to the punctuation marks. In 2000, Bush pledged to be a uniter, not a divider; he pledged to restore honor and dignity to the White House; he pledged to bring a needed measure of civility to partisan divides; he pledged to be a different kind of conservative, a "compassionate conservative." All of the above proved to be ruinously false.

Will Americans play the suckers to the same pitch yet again?

Bush's approval ratings have declined steadily over the course of his presidency, as it has become more and more clear with each passing month that his pledges to play nice were false, merely the pleasing mask he donned to win campaigns. Over that same period, as popular opinion of Bush descended, McCain's closeness to Bush increased. The video says it all:

(via Yglesias)

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