John Dickerson at Slate has an interesting read
on the ability of John McCain to snuggle up to President Bush seemingly without hurting his own political prospects. The piece is a bit fawning for my taste, but that's what we've come to express from the establishment media when it comes to coverage of McCain. Dickerson does do a decent job of giving the time line of McCain's emergence as one of Bush's closest allies.McCain's rapprochement with Bush got going in 2004, when the senator campaigned with Bush to help him win back moderate Republicans disenchanted over the war in Iraq. In a gesture seen by millions of viewers, he sat with Bush's family during one of the presidential debates. Afterward, McCain criticized John Kerry's views on national security, despite his friendship with the Democratic nominee. When rumors surfaced during the race that McCain might replace Dick Cheney, McCain campaigned with the vice president to stop the whispers. "He was there whenever we needed him," said a Bush staff member days before the election. Recently, when Cheney refuted charges that the president manipulated prewar intelligence, he quoted the senator: "As John McCain says, it is a lie to say that the president lied."
This support for Bush is yielding support for McCain in turn. Just three weeks ago, McCain's political action committee took in $1 million in just one week. Many of the professional Republicans who helped to kill his candidacy when he ran against Bush in 2000 now write him $5,000 checksthe full amount allowed by law.
This is essentially what it should come down to for anyone who buys into the myth that John McCain is a moderate. Forget Dickerson's baseless claims that McCain is "winking" as he embraces Bush. Just listen to what the Bush administration says about the so-called maverick
. "He was there whenever we needed him." And yet somehow McCain is going to sell himself as an independent
in 2008? Ridiculous.