There is usually a division of labor between the “positive” Presidential candidate and the “attack dog” Vice-President and other surrogates in a political convention – but this was downright ridiculous.
As today’s New York Times editorial says “Rather than remaking George W. Bush’s Republican Party in his own image, Mr. McCain allowed the practitioners of the politics of fear and division to run the show…he has decided he can have it both ways. He can talk loftily bipartisanship and allow his team to savage his opponents.”
In fact, the contrast between Wednesday night and Thursday night was so stark that the only real question is now whether McCain could actually still control the Republican Party even if he wanted to. Is it really his Party or Sarah Palin’s?
Democrats should quickly and energetically press this question – specifically in speaking to moderate and undecided voters. Is the real Republican Party “nice-guy” John McCain or conservative culture warrior Sarah Palin?
To get the ball started, here are a few ways this challenge can be presented in brief, sound-bite fashion.
“The McCain – Palin ticket offers a ‘Choice, not an Echo’ – and that’s just between the two of them”.
“Maybe McCain should demand a special debate – with Sarah Palin.”
“It sounds to me like John McCain disagrees with Sarah Palin more than he does with Barack Obama”
“Voting Republican will be hard this November – you’ll never know which Republican Party you’re voting for – John McCain’s or Sarah Palin’s.”
Refresh my memory, did McCain pick Palin or did Palin pick McCain?
“The most decent things McCain said on Thursday night would have gotten more applause in Denver then they did in St. Paul…….. and some of the worst things the Republicans said on Wednesday night could have been directly applied to some of the most decent things McCain said on Thursday night.”
“When McCain promised to attack corruption, the audience wasn’t sure whether to cheer or boo…and when McCain praised bi-partisanship the audience knew exactly whether they wanted to cheer or boo, but they also remembered that they were on TV.”
“Why is the Republican Party like The Incredible Hulk? — because you don’t want to see it when it’s angry.”