McCain’s recent appearance on SNL was the beginning of his path to regaining acceptance by the public and even more importantly — by the media — after the drubbing he is about to take in this election.
The long opening sketch made McCain look good while mercilessly drubbing Sarah Palin (she did an aside to camera promoting “Palin in 2012” t-shirts). McCain came across as the old, media-friendly ham he’s been for years, rather than the desperate to win, Rovesque character assassin he’s been the last months.
McCain will be a lonely man starting on Wednesday. He’ll be reviled by the dominant, right wing of his party for not being tough enough and leading his party to ruin. The moderates and liberals, who had once made McCain their favorite Republican, are unlikely to soon forgive him for the very low road he’s taken on the campaign.
By appearing in a skit that attacked the ambitiousness and duplicity of his own running mate, McCain was laying the groundwork for a mea culpa to the moderates and Dems (while further alienating him from the Republican right wing). He’s making his pitch for relevance in a Democratic-controlled Senate.
My sense is that the Dems will be magnanimous in victory. The more seriously they take McCain in the Senate, the more they’ll divide the Republican senators, and the Republican circular firing squad will continue through 2012.