Another thought on the trouble for John McCain posed by polls showing 80+ percent of people thinking the country's on the wrong track is that, of course, McCain desperately needs the support of the 15-25 percent of dead-enders who think Bush is a good president. And it's just very difficult to assemble a political coalition that's deeply divided on an issue like that. It's a bit like John Kerry trying to put together a coalition where most of his voters were against the Iraq War, without actually running an anti-war campaign.

In other words, even if McCain does come up with a better way of separating himself from Bush than selling himself as the candidate of Ted Williams and an anonymous rock star, there's still bound to be an irreducibly pro-Bush element at the very heart of his political coalition.