So McCain is in trouble again -- this time for saying that Barack Obama is more Left than the only self-proclaimed "Socialist" in the Senate, Bernie Sanders (shown above in colorful native costume). This may say more about Sanders than Obama, actually.
The back story to this otherwise insignificant dustup is moderately interesting. The National Journal every year ranks Senators for leftiness on the basis on a set of 100 "key votes", or votes NJ considers "key" at any rate. In 2007, Barack suddenly zoomed to the head of the pack, after having been 16th and 10th in his previous two years. Hillary also lurched to the "left" in 2007, or to what passes for a "left" in the US Senate, going from 32d to 16th (neatly enough, the spot Barack held in 2005).
It's pretty transparent what's going on here, right? This is the old base bait-and-switch: seduce the party activists, who are largely left of center, during primary season, then return to business as usual -- and I do mean business, specifically big business -- once you've clinched the nomination (or failed to, for that matter).
And it works every time. The base never seems to catch on, no matter how often they see the trick done. Once you plant the hook you've got 'em for good, and they'll follow you through fire and water -- or rather, through FISA and Waziristan.