mccainmimic.thumbnail.jpgVia Matt Yglesias, self-described optimist Ezra Klein wrote at the American Prospect yesterday:

My hunch is that because Obama and McCain keep saying, in speeches, that they disagree, the press will actually report on their disagreements. The media is perfectly happy to be led around. The problem in 2000 was that Bush insisted he was a moderate and the press had no interest in questioning that.

Ha, ha, ha. Does Ezra think McCain and his handlers didn’t pay attention to what worked for Dubya, not to mention the latest campaign buzzwords? He clearly wasn’t on the Double-Talk Express with the Associated Press before McCain’s soon-to-be-legendary speech on Tuesday:

Previewing his remarks, McCain told reporters on his campaign bus in Nashville, Tenn.: "The message is change. It’s real change. I think it’s clear I have a record of working across the aisle. Senator Obama does not. I think it’s my record of reform and efforts to change the way we do business in Washington.

And then there was the stagecraft surrounding the speech. As Hunter wrote at Daily Kos this morning:

… it is a bit depressing to see McCain so blatantly ripping off Obama’s own slogan, instead of crafting one himself. Obama’s slogan was "Change You Can Believe In"; McCain’s new version is "A Leader We Can Believe In". Obama’s omnipresent logo consists of blue over a hill of red and white; his website has a field of blue over red, with subtle "sunburst" rays in the background. McCain has chosen for his new theme a field of greenish-blue over red and white… with subtle "sunburst" rays in the background.

Following in the footsteps of Dubya’s "compassionate conservatism," the supposedly principled maverick McCain is going to shamelessly mimic as much of Obama’s message as he can get away with. Even though his actual philosophy is one of embracing failure, he’ll try to embrace the rhetoric of hope and change, so most voters people who aren’t paying attention think there’s no difference between the two candidates save for Obama wanting to leave Iraq (which, of course, may be enough to hand him the election anyway). Like his old authoritarian black-gold-and-white website design, his persistent support for Bush administration policies will be ancient history… that stuff was just so primary season, y’know?

Unfortunately for McCain, though, if there’s one thing that was painfully apparent from his Tuesday night address, it’s that he lacks one of the fundamental necessities of being a chameleon — the ability to blend in with any background. I guess it’s true what they say about a leopard not being able to change its age spots…