I'm sure I must have been the first person on the planet to think of it, right? It's not as if anyone had ever considered seeking the presidency with a promise to serve just one term -- right?
I think he should do something dramatic: Renounce ambition for a second term. He should say that he intends not just to win the presidency but to win a mandate for the few big things he really wants to accomplish: fixing entitlements and beating terrorists. A one-term limit would instantly separate McCain from the pack, making the other Republican contenders look self-interested by comparison. Concentrating on issues such as terrorism and entitlements would also play to his strengths with conservatives, and distract attention from his weaknesses...From my list of suggestions for McCain in April:
Making a one-term pledge would make it possible for McCain to win a mandate for the mission of his presidency. And it would be important for him to have one, since he will almost certainly be facing a Democratic Congress.
Promise to serve only one termThe downside of this move is that it will call some attention to your age. I think that's surmountable however.
It seems that nearly every Presidential election, there is some candidate who kicks around the idea of promising to serve only one term - to address concerns about age, or demonstrate a willingness to tackle controversial issues with politically-difficult solutions. This works for you for both reasons. So tell voters that you are on a mission - to win the war in Iraq, lay the groundwork for victory in the War on Terror (which will last for many years) and address critical challenges. And serving only one term will free you from concerns about re-election that might impair your ability to act decisively.
Go look at the rest of my ideas; I think they hold up. The only shame of it is that Thompson is no longer likely to accept the VP nod.