12/03/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

McCain's Straight Walk Express

"Just a closer walk with thee."

It should be the theme song of the McCain campaign, and the "thee" is George W. Bush.


John McCain has given up Straight Talk for a Straight Walk. He is walking in lockstep with the campaign's Invisible Man, George W. Bush, in a straight line in the same direction Bush has been taking the nation.

The direction of that straight walk is over a cliff, and the American people know it. Walking straight ahead at a time when 9 out of 10 American believe the country is heading in the wrong direction is plainly not a plan for either political or national success.

It is obvious to most Americans that the United States must change direction, and it should be equally obvious that following in march behind the crooked-talk, straight walk McCain will not provide that change of course.

Any remaining doubt was removed on Saturday when what might be the most important and least coveted endorsement of the campaign was made.

In effect, Dick Cheney invited John McCain on a hunting trip, during which he fired a blast with the full force of his own 18 percent approval rating at the Arizona senator.

"I'm delighted to support John McCain," Cheney said in Laramie, Wyoming. "He is a man who has looked in the face of evil and not flinched," declared a vice president who looks at the face of evil every morning while shaving.

Cheney's message to McCain in the campaign's dying hours is: Don't worry John, I've got your back! Apparently the back of his party's presidential nominee was irresistible as a target for the vice president's knife.

Sen. McCain's response to the latest endorsement of his straight walk with Bush is reportedly: Et tu, Cheney?

Historian Robert S. McElvaine is Elizabeth Chisholm Professor of Arts & Letters at Millsaps College and the author of The Great Depression: America, 1929-1941 (Random House). His latest book is Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America 2008-07-01-GTJcoversm.jpg (Crown).