That last quote is the real give-away. It is not change that is important, it is the appearance of change. Because, after all, when your understanding of the world approximates a theme park ride, all that matters are appearances.
The nominee’s friend described him as a “restless reformer who will clean up Washington.” His defeated rival described him going to the capital to “drain that swamp.” His running mate described their mission as “change, the goal we share.” And that was at the incumbent party’s convention.
As Senator John McCain accepted the Republican nomination for president, he and his supporters sounded the call of insurgents seeking to topple the establishment, even though their party heads the establishment.
For “every candidate, regardless of whether they’re an incumbent or a challenger,” said Sara Taylor, a former White House political director under Mr. Bush, “one of the fundamental missions is how to set themselves up as the change agent, and John McCain is well equipped based on a long record as a maverick to do that.”