Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Political Paralysis: McCain Style

THE UGLY SHAPE OF A MCCAIN ADMINISTRATION. If you think the Bush administration was torn apart by internal dissension, just wait to see what will happen if John McCain wins the election. If he's elected president, John McCain certainly will bring in his friends, allies, moderate Democrats (like Joe Lieberman), moderate Republicans (say former Sen. Lincoln Chaffee) and mavericks like Sarah Palin of Alaska. But McCain will also have to bring in a whole new wave of "movement conservatives" into the various cabinet departments and agencies like the FDA, FEMA, NASA, OSHA, and science advisory councils. These kinds of men and women don't respect McCain, don't agree with McCain, and wouldn't promote a McCain agenda. To the contrary, a lot of "McCain appointees" would be using their footholds in a McCain administration to advance right-wing positions and personalities that McCain and his top-level people would have to repudiate.

In fact, the infighting is already starting. William Kristol has a New York Times column out yesterday on the expectation that "McCain guy" Mike Murphy would soon join the McCain campaign as chief overall strategist while "Bush/Rove guy" Steve Schmidt ran the day to day operation at campaign headquarters. That sounds great except that the irreverent Murphy makes "no secret of his low opinion of the Bush-Rove political machine" that has provided so many of the high-level operatives for the McCain campaign. Murphy's already told reporters that “'the depressingly self-absorbed McCain campaign machine needs to get out of the way” of its candidate."

According to Adam Nagourney:
Senator John McCain’s campaigns have long been defined by internal squabbling and power plays, zigzagging lines of command and a penchant by the candidate for consulting with former advisers without alerting current ones, always a recipe for disquiet. 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 McCain and Bush/Rove people have about as much respect for each other as the Hatfields and McCoys of Kentucky feud days. But the McCain faction of the Republican Party isn't big enough to manage a presidential campaign let alone the federal government. That's not to mention that the McCain faction itself is characterized by a number of "festering feuds" like the one between campaign manager Rick Davis and Mike Murphy. Consequently, McCain has to bring in a lot of Bush/Rove people to have any hope of making things work. But, that just magnifies the enormous amount of backbiting, infighting, and political paralysis.

Needless to say, it isn't too hard to project the squabbling to a McCain administration. According to Nagourney:
All of this intrigue breeds discouragement among even those former McCain associates who do not dispute the notion that voters now might be getting an early glimpse of the messy, unstructured way in which a McCain White House might be managed. They are hard-pressed to explain why Mr. McCain tolerates this — or encourages this — or why he has trouble cutting ties with people who have not served him well over the years.

John McCain: A stronger leader on television than he is in the office.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

McCain is a poor leader and can't trust his friends who are all mercenaries, check.

B Moe