There are many routes of attack for approaching McCain's candidacy in a general election. Lobbyists. Pandering to the right. Flip-flopping. Being 104 years of age. All very powerful opportunities juxtaposed with the new directions Obama offers the nation, and all easily wrung from the media once we have our nominee (even if that doesn't happen until the convention, which doesn't seem likely). Of the inroads, though, this is perhaps the argument that will resonate most with voters:
McCain is a pure neoconservative in exactly the way that Bush and Cheney are, which is exactly why David Brooks, and like-minded ideologues like Bill Kristol, swoon over McCain's foreign policy "principles." That's fine. Brooks is a neoconservative and it's thus perfectly natural that he would find a neoconservative foreign policy speech to be filled with wisdom and insight. But to pretend that it's some grand departure from the Bush/Cheney approach is pure deceit.A sweep in this election may quite simply boil down to riding Obama's coattails of registering new voters, young voters, and continued efforts to draw those who haven't been inspired to vote in years into the voting booth in November.
Just as was true for Bush in 2000, McCain is running at a time when the Republican brand is sullied (in 2000 because of the ugly Gingrich/impeachment crusades and in 2008 because of the destructive Bush years). Thus, McCain is being politically marketed in exactly the same way that Bush the presidential candidate was (he's a uniter not divider; a new kind of Republican; you always know where he stands; he's a conservative who deviates from dogma and appeals to Democrats; he transcends partisanship; we're going to be a more humble nation, etc. etc.). It's exactly the same wrapping. And the media believed all of that about Bush and they now believe it all about McCain.
Many American's are waiting for a reason to cast an angry vote, and despite what hand-wringers may say, some of our nation's brightest and proudest moments have been the result of a frustrated electorate driven to the polls either to rebuke a betrayal, or follow a vague sense of "change" or "hope" that at least hints at trying something new.