Friday, October 31, 2008

Of Course Not!

This audio clip (YouTubed because I couldn't embed the NPR audio) is pretty amazing:

The context here is that Eagleburger was sent on NPR by the McCain campaign to make the case that McCain should be president. You can hear in his voice that he's struggling with how to deal with the question of whether he thinks Palin is prepared to be president, and for a moment he tries to stop himself. But in the end, he can't think of anything else to say besides "of course not."

One thing this demonstrates is the fact that like Bush, McCain tends to select people for jobs based on how much he trusts them rather than whether he has any reason to believe it's the right person for the job. McCain's campaign is flagging, but it's not as if there's no one in the known universe who is still willing to go on NPR and say "McCain is awesome and so is Sarah Palin!" In fact, it's entirely possible that Eagleburger was willing to do that.

Unlike Bush, McCain is not enough of a "political man" (to use Nixon's term) to make sure the people loyal to him to understand what it is he's asking them to do. That's something you can see with a person like Scott McClellan, who in hindsight we know had serious misgivings about how he was handling his job as press secretary. He wasn't totally comfortable saying the things he was saying, but the Bush people (and I understand Cheney may be an important piece of this; it's hard to know) made damn sure McClellan knew what his job was, and since he was loyal to the president, he did it.

Say what you will about Bush (and I have!), but the man has a head for politics and understands how to convert a team of loyal supporters into a coherent political strike force. With McCain you have a man who, like Bush, has no real interest in actually governing, but who has no real interest in campaigning either.

If I had to guess, I'd say McCain probably has been wishing for some time that someone else had won the GOP nom. His heart's not in this campaign, and the wheels are coming off.

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