Does it underline Obama’s “Bush-McCain” rhetoric?
In recent weeks we have tended to focus on the battle for the Democratic nomination now that John McCain appears a near certainty to win the GOP race. But the real battle, of course, is the election in November and, at stake, is whether the Republicans can continue to occupy the White House.
Whenever Democratic front-runner, Barack Obama, has the chance he uses the term “Bush-McCain” to describe his party’s likely opponent in November. As the New York Times reports the idea is “to define Mr. McCainâ€™s candidacy” as part of a ticket that they say “will essentially give the president another term.”
So the 71 year old Arizona senator was on pretty tricky ground when he received Bush’s endorsement for the campaign. For Bush is experiencing some of the poorest ever ratings for a President and McCain does not want to fuel the campaign from the Democrats. This is challenging for in spite of his overall unpopularity Bush is still regarded well by two thirds of Republican supporters.
The current plan is for Bush to do a few fundraising events for McCain and to speak to specific audiences, like evangelicals, where the President might still have some sway. The critical thing that the Bush endorsement does is help ensure that those groups who backed him in 200 and 2004 continue to support the party’s nominee and turnout to vote.
For the one charge that McCain has found it hard to rebut is that he is “not a proper conservative”. Bush helps with that. The trouble is that pictures like the one above could just reinforce the determination of many Democratic supporters to vote.
In the betting on which party will win the White House the Democrats are the 1/2 favourites.