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The Dark Force | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

The Dark Force

When John McCain was running his insurgent campaign against George W. Bush in 2000, he frequently compared himself to "Luke Skywalker trying to get out of the Death Star." But then Luke lost, the Evil Empire won, and John McCain embraced the dark side: Bush in 2004, Falwell in 2006, the surge in 2007.

Or as his friend Lindsey Graham said, trying to reassure conservatives about McCain's second run for president: "This is not Luke Skywalker here. This is a totally different campaign."

Indeed.

Like Bush, McCain built an imperial campaign, spending money like a drunken sailor. Unlike Bush, he could not raise enough cash to overcome his burn rate and had to severely downsize his staff, which in the horserace-obsessed Washington media is even worse than Giuliani having to fire Senator David Vitter for solicitation. (Based on the couple's joint press conference, Rudy should have hired Wendy Vitter instead.)

But it's bigger than McCain. Bush is so toxic right now and Republicans so demoralized that none of the top tier Republican candidates are raising more money than they spend. The Republicans are being crushed in the money game by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

That sound you just heard is the Death Star exploding.

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