early and often

All Aboard the Wishy-Washy Express

John McCain

Doesn’t he kind of look like a Wallace and Gromit character here?Photo: Getty Images

Yesterday, we wrote about McCain’s surprisingly good general-election prospects against the Democrats, considering everything that’s happening in the world. Since the DNC pores over everything we write with a fine-toothed comb, it has begun to step up its offensive on McCain, by doing that strategically irrational, Bond-villain type thing where it openly reveals exactly how it will bring down its opponent so he has ample opportunity to react. They plan to attack him on his wishy-washiest points! You know, it might work better if you didn’t make it so obvious which weaknesses you’ll try to exploit. Just saying.

• Sam Youngman looks at the Democratic plan of attack against McCain, based on swing-state polling: McCain is not the independent voice he appears to be, he’s prone to changing his positions and holding wishy-washy stances on some issues, and he has himself claimed that he’s ignorant of the economy. [Hill]

• Steve Huntley thinks Barack Obama’s and his surrogates’ attacks on McCain are becoming increasingly shrill and threaten to ruin Obama’s promise of running a new kind of campaign. [Chicago Sun-Times]

• McCain’s changing positions aren’t hard to come by today: Jonathan Cohn explores McCain’s drastic turnaround on the economic crisis in a speech yesterday, saying that if McCain were serious about the crisis, he would have solidified his position a long time ago. [Plank/New Republic]

• Stephen Spruiell concurs, calling McCain’s new economic speech a “disappointment” and “Democrat-lite.” Spruiell even agreed with Hillary Clinton when she criticized McCain’s turnabout, writing, “What can I say? When she’s right, she’s right.” [Corner/National Review]

• Michael Cooper calls McCain’s new economic plan a “reversal” and a “departure” from last month’s remarks and says McCain is “laboring to undo any damage” from the hits he took from Mitt Romney on the economy during the primaries. [NYT]

• Steve Benen has found another weak position: the G.I Bill. Though in his View appearance yesterday, McCain expressed his support for more educational benefits for veterans, McCain has yet to back a bill that would accomplish just that. [War Room/Salon]

• And that’s not all. Michael Scherer looks at McCain’s murky position on, of all things, torture. While McCain has been one of the foremost critics of the use of torture, he won’t back a plan to restrict the CIA’s interrogation tactics to those allowed in the army field manual. [Time]

• Jim McElhatton and Jerry Seper note that two of McCain’s top advisers are current or former lobbyists for foreign governments, a contrast with his independent image and something McCain can expect to face scrutiny over. [Washington Times]

• But Maggie Carlson writes about one of McCain’s consistent strengths: appealing to the hopeful side of Americans regarding Iraq, compared with the gloom and doom Democrats. [Bloomberg]

• Jake Tapper notes one thing the Democrats definitely won’t attack McCain with: his eligibility to be president. Democratic senators are sponsoring a bill expressing their belief that McCain, though born on an American military base in the Panama Canal Zone, is a natural-born citizen of the United States. [Political Punch/ABC News] —Dan Amira

Earlier: Will McCain’s Foreign-Policy Cred Take Him to the White House?

For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.

All Aboard the Wishy-Washy Express