Pat Buchanan is saying on MSNBC that to win the debate tonight, John McCain needs to represent 'Main Street', to be a populist representing the average person. (That happens to be Buchanan's 'paleo-conservative' position, which if you haven't looked at it, is very interesting. Check out some of his recent books.)
But the interesting thing is that McCain has not been intrinsically populist in any area of policies, at least prior to about two years ago. In his foreign policy, he has been as Neo-Conservative as Bush and Cheney, hawkish in support of the Iraq invasion, an attack on Iran, defending Israel and in favor of what is essentially a new cold war with Russia. In economic policy, he has favored the rich and powerful with his consistent deregulation stance. In social policy, until the last year or two, he had been very moderate, almost like a Rockefeller Republican of 30 years ago, not very pro-life, derisive toward the Christian Right.
So how you go from that to a Republican 'pitchfork' populist, well, it's hard to imagine. He's tried very hard, of course, from the visits to Bob Jones University in South Carolina and apocalyptic firebrand preacher Rev. John Hagee in Texas, to his pick of ultra-right, moose-hunting creationist, Sarah Palin.
So, as I've said before, who knows what John McCain believes. Maybe he doesn't know himself. Or is it simply a matter of getting elected? If so, that is pretty disgusting.