How John McCain Ran Against Himself

Walter Shapiro, Salon: Just over the horizon lies an alternate universe in which John McCain is locked in a tense nail-biter of a presidential race with Barack Obama, one in which the polls gyrate daily and “too close to call” describes most of the contested political landscape. To create this what-if Republican fantasy, only one thing needs to be changed — and that mystery element has nothing to do with a mythical Barack Obama scandal or an inexplicable surge in George W. Bush’s approval ratings.

All that would have been required to achieve electoral parity and a plausible road map to the White House would have been for the Republican nominee to have transformed himself into … (Warning: Mind-bending content ahead) … the John McCain of the 2000 primaries.