McCain and the return of the Maverick

Ahead of McCain’s speech, I wondered aloud which McCain we were going to see. The independent Maverick we all loved from his senate glory days, or the right-wing neocon he showed us since winning the nomination. Last night the answer was…both, I guess. But last night signaled something of a change in McCain a pivot back to his comfort zone, and it will make the race for the White House very interesting. McCain gave his base one last rally, it seems, before heading full bore toward the change rhetoric that he so mocked just a few weeks ago. 

It is fairly standard fair for candidates to move to the center after the conventions and attempt to win over the valued independent voters. McCain walked the tight rope between playing up his conservative street cred and being the maverick reformer of his glory days. 

Even in introducing Sarah Palin (again), it wasn’t her rightward stands on issues he touted, it was her record of reform. He painted her as a new gunslinger who was going to clear the house of wasteful spenders and government frauds. 

This will be the mantra of McCain till the general election. Issues are going to fade even further into the background and we’re going to here about how McCain can out-change Obama. How Washington is broken, and only the original maverick and his mini-mav can break the cycle. 

In short McCain picked Palin to solidify the base, because he knows to win, he must run away from Bush and the GOP record.  So let’s welcome back the maverick from the GOP-base hugging wilderness and prepare for a lesson in cognitive dissonance as he tries to thread the needle between being his own Maverick, and being this country’s Republican nominee.


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