One striking aspect of John McCain's nomination acceptance speech last night was his attempt to define himself as all about change.
On the surface, this appears foolish. Not only did Barack Obama stake out the "change" mantra months ago, it's really hard to appear credible as a change agent when you've voted with the Current Occupant 90% of the time. (I love that Obama commercial that features McCain himself making the 90% claim!) The Obama campaign and a slew of pundits repeated this point almost endlessly today.
But maybe McCain isn't trying to out-change Obama. Maybe it's not necessary to beat him at the change game.
Maybe all McCain needs is to distance himself from the Bush administration enough to reclaim the "maverick" mantle. He then lets Sarah Palin bait us into yet another skirmish in the dreary a culture wars. And if this election becomes all about latté sipping elistists versus caribou-hunting small-town patriots, the Republicans have a real chance.
Hmmm. The only real change in that formula is the caribou.
As an antidote to my gloom, here's a video cleverly lampooning the change theme during those halcyon early days of the primaries - back when the Republican clown car was full to bursting and none of us had a clue how to pronounce "Rielle."