Were it not for the messiness of his first marriage, I’ve long thought McCain could defuse the issue of his wealth by simply saying, “Look, I’m living the American dream. I came home from war, married a hot blond beer heiress. What do you want from me?”
More seriously, I don’t think this will work very well for the Dems. For generations, liberals have wanted to make economic wealth into elitism. For some it’s probably vestigial Marxism. For others, good old fashioned populism. But whatever its source, it doesn’t work. First, liberals have lots and lots of really rich people in their own ranks, from FDR to Ted Kennedy. It’s pure hypocrisy (or at least inconsistency) for liberals to denounce McCain’s houses, when they have so many multi-home-owners in their own ranks. Second, Americans don’t hate rich people the way the European prols hated the aristocracy, because our rich people aren’t aristocrats in the same way the titled nobility were. This is a category error that comes up among liberals all the time (read Thomas Frank from time to time if you don’t believe me). Third, as a political matter, it’s cultural elitism, not economic elitism, that voters dislike. And on that scale, it’s Obama who has a problem, not McCain. If McCain were some kind of blue blood, some of this might stick. But he ain’t.
Of course, McCain could screw up in how he deals with this and make it more of an issue than it needs to be. But it doesn’t seem like he’s doing that.