The Republicans and Democrats are both "in power," obviously, given that the Republicans control the White House, but the Democrats control the House and Senate.
With that in mind, here's the New York Times on McCain:
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.
After watching two political conclaves the last two weeks, it would be easy to be confused about which was really the gathering of the opposition. 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.
You would think that the author would at least mention somewhere in this article that the Democrats control both houses of Congress. You would be wrong.
I agree that voters perceive the Republicans to be "in charge," in part because barely half even know that the Democrats control the Congress. But the Times piece presents things as if it's not just a political problem for McCain, but logically problematic for a Republican to run as a reformer who will clean up Washington. Even though Capitol Hill is, and is very likely to remain, a Democratic stronghold, according to the Times, the Democrats are the "opposition party." (see also Shales in the Washington Post). Anyone want to bet on whether the Times will have a story on how problematic it is for Barack Obama to run as a reformer when he is a Senator and his party controls the Senate?