With Sen. John McCain plans to run a positive ad tonight congratulating his Senate colleague Barack Obama on winning the Democratic nomination, Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva took the chance to scoff at the campaign's "Jekyll [and] Hyde" advertising approach, as if the Arizona Republican can't deem it polite to take a one day holiday from criticizing his opponent while planning on vigorously resuming the next day and every day hence until the general election:
"Senator Obama, this is truly a good day for America,'' McCain says in the ad. "Too often, the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed. So I wanted to stop and say, congratulations. How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day. Tomorrow, we'll be back at it. But tonight senator, job well done''
So which is it?
"Dangerously unprepared?'' or "Job well done.''
It looks like McCain was against Obama before he was for him.
Of course the etiquette of American politics requires some situations to call for polite non-partisan deference, most notable of which are when the losing candidate in a contest concedes victory to his opponent and gives a gracious concession speech, a political fate awaiting either McCain or Obama on the evening of November 4.
It may be a bit unusual for McCain to congratulate Obama while spending campaign funds in an advertisement to do it, but evoking, even teasingly, John Kerry's most famous 2004 gaffe to snark at the tactic rings a bit hollow.