The Washington Times - August 7, 2008, 10:35AM

There was a time when John McCain was every Democrat’s favorite Republican. McCain is now reminding them — and voters — of that fact.

It’s not going to get the attention of McCain’s ads attacking Barack Obama’s celebrity, but this one is central to who McCain has been for the last decade — a guy who was more popular with Democrats than Republicans.

I’ve stated in this blog before my observation that for much of the last eight years, since his first run for president, McCain was the de facto majority leader of the Senate. Those issues on which he put his stamp of approval got a debate on the Senate floor, and he had influence on the White House and other lawmakers far beyond that a single senator usually enjoys.

His win-loss record is not so great — climate change, immigration and most of his spending cuts proposals never got signed into law, though McCain’s involvement helped drive the debate on curbing torture of terrorist detainees, campaign finance reform was approved and McCain’s involvement in the “Gang of 14” judges deal controlled judicial nominations for most of the 109th Congress. The Democratic quotes in the video are a reflection of that influence.

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The potential downside for McCain is this could remind many of those conservative voters why they disliked him for the last eight years or, even worse, remind them of McCain’s apparent flirtations with leaving the party which he now controls.

Stephen Dinan, national political correspondent, The Washington Times