Via Jonathan Martin, who makes the obligatory point that the left took a rosier view of senators fitting this profile four years ago. It’s the first ad from David Brock’s new $40 million hatchet shop, Progressive Media USA; if they’re all as weak as this, McCain will be lucky. The problem isn’t that the charge is unfair, it’s that Maverick doesn’t look the part the way Kerry did. That’s why I don’t think Bittergate will end up hurting Obama: Gaffes bite hardest when they confirm your preexisting impression of the candidate, the way Tuzla did vis-a-vis Hillary’s image as a shameless liar. Partly because of the politics of “authenticity” and partly because he’s so good at connecting with crowds on the stump, it’s hard to sell Obama as an elitist no matter how much Marxist cant he spouts. If Brock wants to turn McCain into a millionaire playboy who can’t pay his own way, have at it; all he has to do is erase 35 years of fame for taking the worst abuse the North Vietnamese could throw at him. Good luck, bro.