After every failed campaign, the losers analyze the defeat with the hope of discovering What Went Wrong so the mistakes aren’t repeated. It’s a process that is absolutely necessary in order to learn and succeed in the future.
When the controversy started swirling before the voting had even commenced, mostly from moderate, ostensibly intellectual corners, the criticism seemed self-serving at worst and ill-timed at best. Many writers discredited themselves. Far from being foresighted (a blind man could see the direction the McCain campaign was going), they showed themselves to be opportunists with little restraint or moral courage in the face of almost certain defeat. Rather than do what they could to possibly stop the stampede, they spooked the horses.
That was two weeks ago. Today, it’s time for rigorous examination and assessment. And boy, are the McCain staffers, unchecked by John McCain, assessing. Here are some of their conclusions: They have decided that rather than specific failed policies (can anyone, anywhere, to this day articulate McCain’s plans for the economy?) or strategies (Mr. Nice Guy) or leadership (running around like a headless chicken and suspending the campaign to participate in doomed negotiations), the real problem was Sarah Palin. No rigorous self-examination. Instead, they did what the least savory sorts do: find a scapegoat.
The stupid staffers aren’t the problem. The problem, in this case, as it has been this whole campaign, is John McCain.
The silence from John McCain regarding campaign staffers savaging Sarah Palin is deafening — including his refusal to directly address the charges during his appearance on the Tonight Show. What rock is Senator McCain hiding under and why can’t he show himself for a moment to defend his running mate?
Welcome to being a friend of John McCain, Sarah. Don’t worry! The stab wounds will heal.
Once again, John McCain’s actions betray the character traits conservatives abhorred about the man during his years in the Senate: He would spit in a friend’s eye to win the favor of an enemy. Legislatively, that meant ultimately self-defeating garbage like McCain-Feingold, and most recently, the Wall Street bailout. Far from being a courageous Maverick reformer, McCain has been a self-aggrandizing, expedient hack.