Sen. John McCain’s campaign is a study in how to turn a negative into a positive. Conservatives don’t trust him because of betrayals like McCain-Feingold, the Gang of 14, his easy relationship with the MSM, etc. But conservatives who support the war in Iraq do appreciate McCain’s stalwart support of President Bush in the 2004 election and his support of the war itself both before and after that. This ad turns Maverick Who Is Sometimes Right but Often Annoyingly Wrong into Washington’s Gladiator Who Leads Despite Opposition from All Sides. Statesman and Uber Maverick, in other words, and your plausible second choice when the other guys destroy each other. The shot of McCain with Reagan ties him to fundamental conservatism if not fundamental religion, a subtle play to conservatives, independents and even the “Reagan Democrats.” Since McCain has ceded Iowa to the “agents of intolerance,” this ad is playing in New Hampshire. McCain’s currently running a strong second (according to Rasmussen) there and gaining on Romney.
Update (AP): A consolation for Mitt — he’s back within one of Huckabee in Iowa. That’s an 11-point drop for Huck in less than a week.