The Corner

McCain 2000 vs. McCain 2008

John Dickerson:

I felt as though I were in a time machine as I listened to John McCain’s aides detail how to run against Barack Obama. I could have been on the phone with Bush aides in 2000 talking about McCain: He survives on the strength of his rhetoric; the press that follows him each day doesn’t challenge him but serves merely to record his historic rise; the standards of coverage for the two candidates are different.

I’m sure that at some point and at some level McCain thought that he would be the Obama of this race: the exciting phenomenon, the star, the new-politics guy, just as he was in 2000. So Dickerson is on to something. I would add only that the italicized complaint was largely right about McCain in 2000 and is largely right about Obama now. 

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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