McCain’s association with Bush continues to haunt him

John McCain’s campaign is pretty much one big assault on Obama these days. But, there is one other message he’s trying to get through: I’m not George Bush, which comes across more like “Stop calling me George Bush, you bastards.” The Bush/McCain association is the one association that really seems to matter to voters in this election. Today’s Washington Post takes a look at the McCain campaign’s desperate strategy to create distance:

Battling George W. Bush for the GOP presidential nomination in 2000, John McCain lashed out at the Texas governor, denouncing his proposed tax cuts as a giveaway to the rich.

Eight years later, this time running as the Republican presidential nominee, the senator from Arizona is again criticizing Bush and his financial policies, as he renews his efforts to demonstrate that he would represent a departure from the current administration.

At virtually every campaign stop, McCain is reprising a line he used last Wednesday in his final debate with Sen. Barack Obama: “I am not George Bush.” And in a television ad introduced last week, McCain looks into the camera and says, “The last eight years haven’t worked very well, have they?”

We’re getting that McCain ad in the D.C. market. I laughed the first time I saw McCain say the past eight years haven’t worked well — like none of it was his fault. (You can see the McCain ad here.)

John McCain’s criticism of Bush rings hollow for many reasons. The first two paragraphs of the Post article debunk McCain’s attempt at distance. McCain adopted those same Bush’s tax cuts, which he criticized in 2000, as the centerpiece of his economic plan for the country. McCain can’t say he’s not George Bush when he’s made Bush’s agenda his agenda. People see it:

But with the Republican president’s approval ratings languishing, the perceived connection with him is a significant drag on the party’s nominee. Nearly half of all voters in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll said McCain would mainly carry on Bush’s policies, and among those who would consider a McCain presidency as a continuation of the current administration, 90 percent support Obama. And the prized independent voters who link McCain and Bush also overwhelmingly tilt toward the Democrat.

Over the past eight years, McCain has done almost he could to push the Bush agenda. This attempt at a separation is a craven political ploy — and is why this is probably one of the best ads from the Obama campaign:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PluoMotgl2w]


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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