THE MCCAIN BACKLASH...

THE MCCAIN BACKLASH CONTINUES. First Richard Cohen, now Michael Kinsley? That's bad new for the straight talk express, which relies on precisely these folks for fuel. Indeed, my hunch is that the McCain phenomenon is beginning an almost perfect reversal: as fresh and counterintuitive as lauding his 2000 candidacy was, the cool kids are going to grow proportionately alienated by his 2008 steamroller. Too much pandering, too much politics. And, sadly for McCain, his main policy break with independents and the left is on the country's most salient issue, the war. As Kinsley wonders, "how many Americans and Iraqis should die so that we can enjoy entertaining presidential speeches?" That question is going to grow a lot louder, and even though there are, as Matt says, a couple leftie pundits looking to McCain to rescue their own hawkishness, when Kinsley, Krugman, and Cohen are all writing anti-McCain pieces in 2006, the next two years look like a loooong time for John.

--Ezra Klein

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