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Bush's Third Term?

The second idea layered into this message may be more powerful. & John McCain has fancied himself a maverick who bucks the traditional, "old" way of working in politics. & Presumably he's not trading favors with Washington insiders but is working toward substantive policy ideas. & His 2000 presidential bid versus Bush earned him a strong following where he challenged the Republican Party. & What didn't win him the White House in 2000 though, may work to quell independent voters' fears that McCain is just another Republican towing the far right's party-line.

With every photo-op, fundraiser, and GOP Convention invitation where the Bush-Cheney-Rove connection gets made, however, the maverick brand-name degenerates. McCain's image now must straddle the Washington outsider he still claims to be, with the solid conservative platform he needed to win his party's nomination.

Considering Senator Obama's slim lead over John McCain in national polls , chipping away McCain's maverick image may determine this race. & The message that voting for McCain extends Bush's tenure connects voters' discontent with politics-as-usual and sweeps away McCain's supposed strength.

Are there any independent voters out there who disagree with my assessment that challenging the maverick image could be determinative? & Are there other issues the Obama campaign needs to address in its own candidate that would better attract independent voters? & Let's hear your opinion.

What questions do you have about the Statewide General Election coming up on Nov. 8? Submit your questions here, and we'll try to answer them in our reporting.