New McCain ad: Democrats love a Maverick!

The second ad in as many days to display the “Maverick” brand, part of his strategy to claim America’s new center-left median voter while nudging Obama towards the fringe. He’s taken heat for having a schizophrenic message but watching this reminds you why it’s necessarily so: It’ll take a wide, wide straddle between the GOP base and that median to win, so wide that he’s forced to tout endorsements aimed at one group that would actually infuriate the other. Which, incidentally, explains why this is available on the web only and not on TV in the south. If I were Team Obama’s web guru, I’d have my staff posting the link to it on every conservative bulletin board I could find.

Exit question: Which mini-endorsement here hurts Obama and helps McCain the most? The answer’s obvious. Intuitively it seems like flaunting kind words from Hillary would be ruinous to McCain’s standing with the base, but the schadenfreude involved in using her against Obama is so rich and satisfying that even most conservatives should snicker at it. It’s not really about her admiring McCain, after all; it’s about her being properly skeptical of Obama, no matter what she may say now that she’s in “good soldier” mode. Every reminder McCain can offer in that vein is worth offering, which is why it’s a pity he didn’t use that classic clip of her goofing on St. Barack’s messianism in his Moses ad last week. There are plenty of disgruntled, whining, Hillary-nut voters still left on the tree waiting to be picked. Pick ’em, Maverick!