Sorry to further invert Bill Moyers’ infamous shot at Barry Goldwater, but Jim Geraghty and Ace of Spades describe a huge weakness of John McCain that proved fatal to his electoral viability. Ace writes:
There is no “McCainism” as there was a “Bushism” or “Reaganism.” Those men offered fairly clear visions (well, Reagan particularly so). Not McCain. Everything with him is just his personal gut, principle-free, just an instinct, an impulse, which often takes him in wildly contradictory places (but he’s always haughty about the moral superiority of his decisions).
For example, he’s pro-drilling… but not in ANWR. Um, why? He’s forever undercutting himself with unexplained hedges and caveats.
He’s pro-business… Kinda. Except when he’s making his distaste for anyone working in the private sector “for profit not patriotism” so glaringly evident.
He wants to lower taxes. Sorta. Sometimes. Maybe. In election years.
We must regard Obama as suspect because of his association with the terrorist Bill Ayers… but it’s racist to mention his membership in Jeremiah Wright’s Church of Hate.
Meanwhile, Jim Geraghty has perhaps the definitive example of how McCain’s gut led him to the moment that cost him the election: temporarily suspending his campaign–in service of the ultimately unpopular fiscal bailout. As Karl Rove noted a couple of weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal, McCain’s poll numbers never recovered.