D.R.: Yep, McCain’s done
Vail CO, Colorado
Sen. John McCain parted ways last week with top campaign aides, touching off a debate whether his presidential hopes have died.
The Wall Street Journal says no, as do various other political observers. It is early, even in this weird run-up to the primaries.
But it looks obvious to me that he’s done. The one-time maverick, now toady to the Bush line of “logic” in Iraq, has otherwise taken more from the John Kerry discipline of flip-flopping on principle than anything Reaganesque.
The Straight Talk Express steamed off track and with it McCain’s redeeming, indeed refreshing, qualities as a Republican candidate for president.
I think he lost it kissing up to the churchy conservatives even before taking the wrong side of the Iraq debacle, surely as good a definition for insanity as we have. That is, doing the same junk and expecting a different result.
The resulting drought in funding that led to his campaign staff shake-up means more than his fans and some of these pundits want to believe.
Unlike 2000, there is no aura, no romance, no sense of the heroic character now. McCain himself erased it.
He’s done. Toast. Dead man talking. It’s over.
While I’m culling the field, I see only Rudy Guilliani on the Republican side. Speaking of flip-floppers and John Kerry, Mitt Romney makes the Massachusetts senator and only Democratic candidate who could lose to George W. Bush in 2004 look firm as Rushmore. And Guilliani, as we know, has his own flip-flopping problems as he pretends to turn right for his party conservatives. It’s amazing how the primary system makes liars out of otherwise upstanding citizens who already have accomplished much in life.
On the donkey’s side, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are the only possibilities out of the official candidates. Pretty boy John Edwards is much too much the caricature of the consummate politician, the populist with the $400 haircuts. Please.
Sure, I’m carving out the field a mite early, but I don’t don’t think too soon. The rest of both parties’ fields are unworthy of mention, truly. The field already has narrowed to three viable official candidates and then one wild card who could take the Democrats if he hopped in.
That’s Al Gore, 2008’s version of the mantle McCain once held as the lone plainspoken, beholden-to-no-one candidate. And he’s got more juice now than McCain ever did, having won the popular vote for the presidency in 2000.
But Gore’s not running, says he’s done with politics. Fair enough. Hillary Clinton has her obvious baggage, and Obama still can’t quite match his own buzz, a JFK without enough charm to pull it off.
Some believe McCain can earn back his reputation as the frank truth teller who follows his own convictions, whatever ideological line they stray across.
That’s not something you earn back, though. Especially if that once was your calling card.
No, it’s over for McCain. And he has only himself to blame.