A commenter over at baloon juice last night, reflecting on the back and forth craziness that Tom was noting in the post below this one.
Debate tomorrow. If he’s going to over-reach, it’s when he’s pissed off and on a live mic.
I predict no specific freak-out by McCain, but a lot of clenched teeth accusations as he struggles mightily to contain himself. He’s committed to hard-hitting words that veer dangerously close (if not do it outright) to accusations of treason, etc. He can’t make those while sounding like a nice guy (something Reagan could do).
And this seems logical. But if you read around on right wing sites--like Red State (gulp!) you'll see that if McCain doesn't go postal on Obama and bring up every jot and tittle of the new right wing leviticus on Obama he will have failed in the manliness battle as far as his own base is concerned. All this red meat to the base was meant to lock up the base. But you can't go to town telling the kids you are going to fight the big fight against a crypto, islamic, terrorist who is going to destroy the world on January 2nd and then stand next to him on stage and merely argue with him. Red State commenters are already asking each other, angrily and with a totally sweet expression of confusion on their little faces, whether John McCain is "serious" and whether he "gets it" because he hasn't denounced Obama on the floor of the Senate. They are going to be royally pissed with him for failing to walk over to Obama and punch him at the debate. And despite everything I think some part of McCain's lizard brain--the part where he knows he can beat on Cindy but not on Palin--knows that if he tries to attack Obama before a mixed national audience as a crypto terrorist the whole thing blows up in his face.