Tuesday, July 08, 2008

If the McCain campaign is such a disaster, how could he run the country?

Joe Sudbay (DC), AmericaBlog.com: In today's NY Times, Adam Nagourney takes a look at the snake pit that is the McCain campaign. It's a primer for all the other political reporters and pundits so they can figure out who is up and who is down on the Lap Dog Express. Political reporters love this kind of internecine intrigue, which does not exist in the Obama campaign. But, the article, of course, misses the larger point: John McCain is a terrible manager. Instead of providing a scorecard, Nagourney should be asking: If his campaign is this screwed up, how could he ever run the country?:

After a period of relative calm on that score, it is becoming clear that his campaign is once again a swirl of competing spheres of influence, clusters of friends, consultants and media advisers who represent a matrix of clashing ambitions and festering feuds. The cast includes the surviving members of Mr. McCain’s 2000 campaign, led by Rick Davis and Mark Salter; a new camp out of the world of Karl Rove, led by the recently ascendant Steve Schmidt; and on the periphery, the ever-present Mike Murphy, Mr. McCain’s strategist in the 2000 presidential race who has been dispensing advice to the candidate to the annoyance of the other camps, and is the subject of intensifying rumors in Republican circles that he is about to re-enter the campaign.

Mr. McCain is uncomfortable firing people or banishing them entirely. His orbit remains filled with people who have been demoted without being told they are being demoted, like Mr. Davis, who continues to hold the title of campaign manager even as Mr. Schmidt manages the campaign. Yet, Mr. McCain inspires uncommon loyalty in those who serve with him — hence the willingness of Mr. Murphy to consider coming back into the McCain campaign, despite his own rather brutal history of enmity with Mr. Davis.

Okay, if there was a "matrix of clashing ambitions and festering feuds" on the Democratic side, the punditry would be agog, constantly challenging Obama's capacity to lead. Yet, with McCain, they treat this like their own personal side-show. The political reporters covering McCain are like the old Kremlinologists hunting for any sign of change or intrigue. It's all a game for them, but it's not a game for the rest of us.
Put McCain, who has never managed or run anything besides his campaign, to the same test Obama set for himself: Watch how McCain manages his campaign for clues as to how he will govern. If that's the test, McCain has already failed. Big time. The country can't afford a President whose management style borders on mayhem.
LSB: Just what the country does NOT need - another "manager" who can't manage and is asleep at the switch. Too old to govern effectively, McCain had better have an effective VP nominee if his campaign is to be taken seriously.

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