Who is campaigning for the Republicans this year? I know, I know, everyone thinks it is John McCain; but really, who is in charge over there? There is a string of what I think are tantalizing clues that lead me to believe that it is not John McCain who is running his own candidacy for President. Of course, this leads to the question of, "Who is?!" All that, and possibly more, if you take the jump down the rabbit hole...
Indeed, as that last article points out, there is a seeming civil war happening in McCain's camp. Indeed, there has been an uncommonly large amount of dissension in the ranks of McCain's campaign. There has also been an uncommonly large amount of unraveling in McCain's public persona and perception. Are these two linked?
Plenty of people who know John McCain have gone on the record, gone on air and said that the John McCain campaigning now is not the John McCain that they knew, that he has changed. Huffington Post blared earlier that someone said that McCain had lost the title of "Maverick." But the John McCain of just 6 months ago was as Maverick-y as anything. He railed against obscenely negative campaign ads; he said he would fight an honorable campaign; he didn't call himself a maverick. But then something changed. He became the presumptive Republican nominee. Now, that alone doesn't change much, but what changed along with his status from contender to nominee was the make-up of his campaign staff. The same people that worked against him before are now working for him; the same people that ran campaigns that burned him and that he criticized are now running his campaign. Karl Rove is an "unofficial advisor." The man doing the robocalls for McCain was in charge of the robocalls that called his adopted child "illegitimate" in 2000.
Why would a man who despised this type of campaigning hire the lowlifes that excel at it?
Well, maybe he wouldn't. Maybe John McCain isn't really running his campaign. The same people that signed onto his campaign are the same people that have been running GOP campaigns for the last 8 years. And just as McCain was set to assume the mantle of GOP Presidential nominee, McCain gets these same operatives dumped on him. So, I ask the question: Is John McCain actually running his own campaign? Or has the GOP forced their selected team into power in McCain's campaign,
ensuring trying to make it so that the campaign is run how the GOP wants it run?
Taking this hypothesis, I think it would explain a lot of the behavior of the campaign. It would explain the change that has overcome McCain recently. Where he used to be affable with reporters, he is now cloaked in secrecy like
George W. Bush Sarah Palin most other GOP operatives. Where he used to honestly be "maverick-y," he now toes the line on all the important Republican positions. It would explain why Sarah Palin is the VP nominee: the GOP operatives wanted her, not McCain. That would explain why she is "going rogue." It would explain the erratic behavior of the campaign during the economic crisis because the two different teams each vied for control and each lost. McCain loyalists and GOP loyalists each wanting their particular view of the campaign to be used, two different strategies both being half-implemented. Chaos.
Lastly, this hypothesis would explain why the candidate himself has come out two times with stances contradicting the stance of his campaign: on the "lipstick on a pig" fiasco and today on the charges that Obama is a "socialist." He also shied away from the vehement rhetoric of the
Manchurian Candidate VP nominee.
In light of this evidence, it seems to me that McCain is either dangerously senile/schizophrenic or his campaign is. And if his campaign is schizophrenic now, just imagine how bad a McCain administration would be. It makes me sad to think that McCain's attempt at assuming the Presidency has been hijacked by his own Party, but it makes sense that the people who have been screwing him over for years would continue to do so. I think the reason that the GOP did this was because they felt insecure in the ability of McCain's maverick ideas to actually win the Presidency. They (thankfully) grievously miscalculated. Hopefully, the crotchety, but still snark-funny McCain of yesteryear will return when he is out from under the thumb of the GOP machine.
I don't know how true any of this really is. It is baseless conjecture, but it seems like a better explanation for the a) implosion of the McCain campaign and b) the change in McCain's character than the generally accepted "McCain is batshit crazy!"