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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Flip-Flopping in Tandem With Bush

The headline in yesterday’s Bumiller/Zeleny piece on John McCain in the New York Times had to make the GOP candidate’s handlers feel all warm and cuddly inside: “McCain Seeks to Break With Bush on Environment.” It was, indeed, a rather counterintuitive take on McCain’s speech in Houston to a passle of oil executives, in which he flip-flopped on his longtime support for a moratorium on offshore oil drilling.
Today George W. Bush announced he’s asking Congress to remove the offshore drilling moratorium. Since you have to assume that McCain was informed of this step in advance, what on earth was he thinking in anticipating it by less than twenty-four hours, and in front of an oil-industry audience?
The Bumiller/Zeleny article quotes this reaction from Barack Obama:

“His [McCain’s] decision to completely change his position and tell a group of Houston oil executives exactly what they wanted to hear today was the same Washington politics that has prevented us from achieving energy independence for decades,” Mr. Obama said in a statement.

Now that the Bush-Cheney administration has headed in exactly the same direction, McCain’s in the position of flip-flopping towards the oil company point of view in tandem with the president from whom he is supposedly trying to distance himself.
There may be some logic to this maneuver, but it certainly eludes me.

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