I believe it was John Podhoretz who first called attention to the Bush "rope-a-dope" strategy during 43's first term. It went something like this:
BUSH43: "I'm calling for a $1.7 trillion tax cut"
DEMS: "That's WAY too much"
BUSH43: "OK, I'll settle for $1.1 trillion"
BUSH43: "We don't need congressional approval to go into Iraq."
DEMS: "What! No way.. you've got to go through us first!"
BUSH43: "OK. I'll give you the issue to vote on."
(Of course, that was before the bully pulpit withered away, neglected.)
Thankfully, the McCain camp has dusted off the playbook and is making good use of it.
MCCAIN: "We might just release the VP name during Obama's speech"
DEMS: "Don't you dare!"
MCCAIN: "OK. We'll steal the thunder away AFTER the speech."
DEMS: "Palin is a lightweight who will wither in front of a national audience."
MCCAIN: "You're probably right. Better set expectations REALLY low."
[Palin rocks St. Paul]
MCCAIN: (thinking) "How are we going to lower expectations after THAT performance?"
DEMS: "Palin is REALLY good at reading a teleprompter, that's all"
MCCAIN: "Gee. Thanks."
PRESS & DEMS: "Where is this Palin girl? She'll bomb under our scrutiny."
MCCAIN: "Hmmm... you might be right. We better not let her out."
PRESS & DEMS: "She needs to be on our pitiful shows. Stop hiding her!"
MCCAIN: "OK, OK. We give in."
You write the rest of the story.
( Ed: Justin Hart is a genius, he's got those tricky McCainiacs all figured out)