Mouthing The Words….John McCain is beloved among certain segments of independents and Democrats for his vaunted ability to cut through the political crap and give it to you straight. But it is exactly that skill that makes him ill-equipped to serve as a partisan shill. McCain sounded flat and uninspired this evening, with the exception of his passionate closing. Given the task of defending Bush’s policy in Iraq, it was McCain’s duty to preview the Administration’s latest rationale: no longer “weapons of mass destruction” or even “weapons of mass destruction-related program activities,” apparently the latest justification for war is “whether or not [Saddam] had the weapons, he would have acquired them.”

Well, then. If that’s all it takes…

McCain’s image took a bruising tonight, particularly because his performance suffered in comparison to the genial attack dog Rudy Giuliani, who at least projected the image of a straight talker while slapping John Kerry up one side and down the other. Neither man has a chance in hell of ever being nominated by the Republican Party, but you wouldn’t know it by the way they’re going gangbusters after the title of Most Popular Republican.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Amy Sullivan is a Chicago-based journalist who has written about religion, politics, and culture as a senior editor for Time, National Journal, and Yahoo. She was an editor at the Washington Monthly from 2004 to 2006.