I know that I shouldn't think John McCain's current tour of Alabama is strange. I know I shouldn't.
The skeptic in me says that McCain is gearing up for a fight with Obama, and in his spare time before the general electioneering starts, he's collecting his "I'm not a racist" credentials since the GOP has such an awesome track record when it comes to campaigning against black and Latino Democrats. This is, after all, the same man who voted against making King's birthday a national holiday, and the man who asserted repeatedly that he was the true heir to Reagan, the foot-soldier in the Reagan revolution and all that. Remember Reagan? Remember the time he went to Philadelphia, Mississippi, to announce his candidacy in the same county where three civil-rights workers were brutally slain? And gave a speech about states' rights?
This new post-primary version of McCain echoes back to the man who was race-baited himself in the South Carolina primary in 2000, not the "foot soldier" of this past primary season. A shred of hope that McCain might douse the GOP's fondness for overt and covert racism?
At the very least, he is clearly setting a different tone - perhaps because McCain would be battling for centrist voters for support if Obama is to be the Democratic nominee. Maybe going on the civil-rights tour of Alabama is less about getting the black vote and more a PR opportunity to appeal to (white) centrist Democrats. All of which reminds me of polls at the beginning of primary season - when many people were deciding between McCain and Obama. If McCain wants their vote, he can't play with the usual GOP playbook.
Predictions about what a general election between McCain and Obama would look like?