VDH writes and people ought to listen. Of course, he is quite right in pointing out that Obama has prepped the rhetorical contest so that any criticism of him is met with overwrought expressions of concern and criticism, not to mention the now-expected tut-tutting that the McCain of 2008 is not the McCain we saw in 2000. The major reason why McCain is no longer a media darling is that he is now the Republican nominee and no longer a foil to the hated George W. Bush, but since this cannot be said out loud, pundits pretend that the scales have suddenly fallen from their eyes, that McCain has “changed,” that if only they could vote for the McCain of 2000, they would, etc.
This constitutes brilliant campaigning by the Obama team. But let’s be honest as well; it isn’t as if the Obama campaign had to work hard to set the rhetorical groundwork in the way that it did. The media is in the tank for the Obama campaign, after all. If they weren’t, they would have noted long ago that rage is a two-way street. And so is guilt by association.