John Harwood writes that how McCain handles his relationship with George W. Bush over the next seven weeks could impact the final outcome of the election.  Should McCain keep his head down and ignore Bush?  Or should he distance himself from President?  Harwood notes that:

Having run against Mr. Bush once before, some Democrats also warn, Mr. McCain may retain enough credibility to shift gears and try it again.

If I were John McCain, that’s exactly what I’d do:  Pick a real-time fight with Bush on an issue that won’t alienate the GOP base — Maybe hit Bush for allowing earmarks to spiral out of control or whack him for his opposition to cracking down on oil speculation or smack him over the fact that spending has skyrocketed during his two terms.

A high profile fight with Bush would reinforce McCain’s maverick brand and validate the claims he makes on the campaign trail at a time when many reporters are writing that he is a liar.

Fortunately, Democrats can rest easy since the chances of McCain taking on Bush are about as good as me taking over for Eli Manning.