Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The Baltimore Sun is reporting that Joe McCain, John's brother, is ticked off at the way the campaign is being run:

Frustrations inside John McCain's camp boiled over on the eve of Wednesday night's presidential debate as the candidate's brother unleashed an e-mail blasting the campaign's "counter-productive" strategy.

"Let John McCain be John McCain," wrote Joe McCain in a missive sent out shortly before midnight Monday. "Make ads that show John not as crank and curmudgeon but as a great leader for his time."

McCain's younger brother was sharply critical of unnamed top campaign officials who "so tightly 'control the message'" that they are preventing reporters from speaking with those, like himself, who know the candidate best....

The full e-mail is here, in strikingly purple prose. ("So, as a sailor who sees his ship sailing into shoals while the rest of the officers and warrants are poring over plans and maps and high-minded thoughts, I make one last effort to ring the bell and put a light on these shallows I see as we steam toward destiny with but three weeks left in this long voyage." Gee, maybe the nutjob who thinks Barack Obama couldn't have written his own first book because it has too many nautical metaphors should consider the possibility that Joe McCain ghost-wrote it.)

But please note that Joe McCain seemed to like the nonsense that was being generated in McCainland a month ago. That's when Joe took the story that Sarah Palin had recited large portions of her Republican convention speech from memory -- a ridiculous tale almost certainly concocted by the campaign itself -- and wrote it up for a Murdoch paper in Australia. (Admittedly, this was nearly two weeks after the story had been rather definitively debunked and subsequently abandoned by other McCain supporters. So maybe Joe was at odds with the campaign even then.)

In any event, Joe is overlooking an inconvenient truth here: his brother isn't a POW anymore. His brother is a free man who freely chose to work with the current team of campaign operatives. Nobody put a gun to John McCain's head and forced him to stop talking to the press. No one forced him to pick Palin, or to unleash her as a McCarthyite attack dog. John McCain is ultimately responsible for John McCain's campaign. The fish stinks from the head.

Joe McCain, I assume, is trying to save the McCain brand. I think there'll be a lot of that in the next few weeks. But no one should worry -- if John McCain loses, soon after the votes are counted he'll start making nice with the press again, and every reporter in the mainstream media will pretend that June through November never happened.

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