John McCain was midway through his "No Surrender" bus tour last Sunday when he entered territory both familiar and friendly, that of yet another military veterans’ group.
The tour was named for his position on Iraq, one mirroring that of the Bush White House: No withdrawal, at least not in any numbers and not now.
It also could have been named for his second Republican presidential run.
The Arizona senator is hanging in there, something many thought unlikely after six months of disastrously low fundraising for a major candidate by 2007 standards….
Now the leaves are beginning to turn, there’s a chill in the morning air, donations have improved, the private jet’s back on call, and, like Mark Twain, rumors of McCain’s political death proved premature.
His Iraq-centered performance in the recent New Hampshire Republican debate won favorable coverage.
He’s staking his final presidential run on being the candidate most vocally supportive of an unpopular war, a guy who wanted a troop surge before the administration thought of it.
McCain has used Gen. David Petraeus’ report on Iraq in a sort of "I told you so" context to reinvigorate his campaign, combining it with sharper criticism of the Bush administration’s initial policies. A reference to an America in dire need of leadership is the closest McCain comes to even hinting he’s running for president….
Now, talk amongst yourselves…