Seeking Campaign Cash for 2010, McCain Triangulates

| Tue Feb. 17, 2009 12:12 PM PST
John McCain, in defeat, isn't retreating. On Monday, he sent out a fundraising appeal, noting that he is running for reelection to the US Senate in 2010, when he will be 74 years old. The short fundraiser, which was signed by McCain, was notable in one regard: he blasts congressional Democrats and says nothing negative about President Barack Obama:

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The economic challenges currently confronting our nation are immense and unfortunately, the Democrats in Congress propose addressing these challenges through increased spending that wastes billions of taxpayers dollars and saddles our children and grandchildren with a staggering debt.
Their proposals will not stimulate economic growth or create jobs. While the leader of the Democratic Party, President Obama, has pledged to change business as usual in Washington and spoken of bipartisanship, I have been saddened and disappointed to watch as Congressional Democrats try to use their majority to advocate more of the same failed policies and wasteful spending of the past. With so much at stake, now is not the time to step away from my work in the Senate.

Although Obama owns the stimulus bill as much as the House and Senate Democrats who voted for it, McCain is trying to triangulate: slam the congressional Dems and not go after the Democratic president. This has been the strategy of Republican leaders on Capitol Hill. Obama remains too popular for them to confront directly. And his stimulus bill has won, in recent polls, majority support. But Republicans seem to believe they can score political points by harping about a few specific provisions placed in the stimulus plan by congressional Democrats. And McCain, like other Republicans, has attacked the stimulus package as nothing but wasteful spending engineered by congressional Democrats, not Obama.

In fact, the only issue McCain mentions in this fundraising appeal is the financial crisis and the "wasteful spending" of the Democrats. He does not refer, as he did during the presidential campaign, to the corruption of Wall Street executives or the pernicious influence of lobbyists. The only culprits of the economic collapse he IDs are the Democrats. Plus, he doesn't mention his own alternative to the stimulus. And he doesn't refer to any other issue he might work on, if granted another term in the Senate. His raison d'etre: to beat back Capitol Hill Ds.

McCain couldn't vanquish Obama in 2008. Now he's running against the spend-and-spend Democrats. And he's starting out 100-percent negative.

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