This is grooving a fastball right over the plate for McCain. He and Sarah Palin are the ultimate Mavericks and have endless examples they can use to prove it. Like Obama's complaints about Sarah Palin's lack of experience, it's picking a fight he can't possibly win.
How did this happen? How can a seemingly intelligent man feed his opponents perfect straight lines?
Let me go back in time a bit to a different campaign. Senator George Allen, a longtime politician with a good track record of winning, uttered a single epithet at an opponent's operative who had been stalking him. He called S.R. Sidarth a macaca.
On August 11, 2006, at a campaign stop in Breaks, Virginia, near the Kentucky border, Allen twice used the word macaca to refer to S.R. Sidarth, an Indian-American, who was filming the event as a "tracker" for the opposing Webb campaign. Macaca means "monkey" and is commonly understood as a racial slur; it is generally used in francophone African nations, which led to speculation that Allen may have heard the epithet from his mother, a Francophone who grew up in French-colonial Tunisia. Allen apologized and later said that he did not know the meaning of the word. In 2008, The Washington Post speculated that, were it not for this single utterance, Allen would have been a strong candidate for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination.George Allen went from presidential contender to failed politician, losing his entire political career because he called a stalker a bad name.
Barack Obama spent 20 years in the pews of a paranoid, racist lunatic. Unlike the "macaca" epithet, it was a considered, deliberate series of actions on Obama's part over two decades. His children were raised in the racist religion of black liberation theology. He was married in that church. The connections were deep and lasting.
George Allen's career ended when, in a moment of anger, he said the word "macaca." Barack Obama is the Democratic candidate for president. That's the world Barack lives in. A soft and cushiony world where standards that apply to everyone else don't apply to him.
Unfortunately for Barack, while the press and his campaign staff live in that world with him, the majority of Americans do not. The press is as detached from reality as Obama. Obama went to Europe and elsewhere and the press went ga-ga over it. America didn't. The press tsk-tsk'd at Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter. America seems to have shrugged it off. The list goes on and on. Barack is allowed to get away with whatever he wants and is praised endlessly. He's the cult leader.
There's no one around to tell him what makes sense and what doesn't. When he turns on the news at night, he sees himself lionized. Reporters are having tingling sensations up and down their legs. Everyone's basking in each others' glows. Meanwhile, the rest of us see a completely unaccomplished man denigrating John McCain and Sarah Palin. We see Barack Obama, who has never managed a budget in his life, sneering at Sarah Palin's experience with a multi-billion dollar state budget. In the ad shown above, Barack looks down his nose at John McCain's history of crossing party lines to make deals.
To the rest of us, this is self-evidently stupid. We all know about John McCain's frequent departures from Republican orthodoxy. Barack has no accomplishments in this area at all. To us, this is all absolute nonsense and further cements his image as an empty suit, a windbag.
To those who live in the coccoon with Barack, this all makes sense.
Update: Andy Mcarthy of NRO claims that the cocoon is actually a feature of the Democratic primaries. He makes a good point.
A primary season like the modern Democratic Party has is an exercise in unreality. It molds the candidate into something attractive to a fringe that is unrepresentative of the country at large. When Obama moved from that sandbox to the real playing field, he wasn't ready. In a panic, he sensed the need to turn to an old Washington pro — and somehow managed to find a pro, Biden, who shares some of his own worst foot-in-mouth tendencies (and has not been able to shake that congenital problem in his three dozen senate years). The result? It's only been a week and they have already suggested that they will order banana-republic style prosecutions of Bush administration officials, that Palin — mother of a special needs child — doesn't care about special needs children, and, now, lipstick on a pig.