At a rally today in Charleston, WV, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden took aim at John McCain’s recent criticism of the Bush administration, “John McCain is now attacking the Bush budget and fiscal policies. Folks, this is as crazy as the Sundance Kid attacking Butch Cassidy! They were in this together.”
Biden mocked the idea that John McCain is a candidate of change, “John McCain voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Until recently, he was bragging about it. He said these policies produced “great economic progress.” Look, I know Halloween is coming. But John McCain as the candidate of change? That’s one costume the American people aren’t going to buy.”
He continued, “So I know we’re not running against President Bush. But we are running against the very Bush economic policies John McCain is promising to continue. John McCain and Sarah Palin call themselves mavericks… but to paraphrase your neighbor — Senator Bob Casey from Pennsylvania — you can’t call yourself a maverick when all you’ve been is a sidekick.”
I am starting to wonder if the McCain campaign isn’t trying to destroy their party. I can’t think of a better way to shatter the morale of the base, then to have the presidential candidate attack the sitting president of his party. McCain should have distanced himself from Bush months ago, but they won the nomination based on McCain’s support of Bush, and they were too slow to react to the general election climate.
For Obama and Biden, this is like shooting fish in a barrel. McCain’s attacks on Bush opened up the door for them to deliver the exact message that they want to use to close this campaign. They can link Bush to McCain at every event, every day until next Tuesday. It is too late for McCain to distance himself from Bush.
Polling shows that voters have long ago made up their minds that McCain equals more Bush. The big stunner in this story is that Joe Biden is campaigning in West Virginia, which until recently was thought to be a solid red state. The fact that Biden has the luxury of campaigning in red states speaks volumes about the status of this race.