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Oh, It's Over, Darlin'. Way Over. | Main | One Bit of Good News? Can We Beat Even Stuart Smalley?
November 05, 2008

"McCainism," RIP, and Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

steve and I were talking, I mentioned how rudderless the McCain campaign was, because nothing with McCain is clear.

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.

This leads to a paralysis among his campaign staff. Everyone knew, pretty much, the Idea of Reagan. They could act independently with confidence that they were advancing Reagan's goals.

No one could do that with McCain.

Steve mentioned the german military term schwerpunkt, or "critical point." (PDF link.) Every military mission needed an easily comprehended schwerpunkt; even the most complicated mission must have, at its heart, a simple idea, a non-complex goal. If the goal was to capture the bridge, it must be clear that capturing the bridge was the schwerpunkt. Not only was everyone clear on the general goal, then, but when asked to give orders independent of senior command, lower officers would know the main goal that each of their orders must advance, the schwerpunkt. Without that, lower officers could not possibly issue orders that would serve the mission's goal. How can one advance the mission without knowing precisely what is at its heart?

What was McCain's schwerpunkt? What was his case? Ultimately he sought to run not on a plan or an idea, but upon his character, his personal wisdom and integrity (something I note, not uncoincidentally, could never benefit Republicans generally, as an *idea* could).

He always had a tough battle, but in the end he had no plan for battle, only the unwavering belief that he alone was equipped to lead the war.

There was no idea of McCain beyond McCain himself.

And ultimately, he lost. No man is greater than an idea.

Even the great McCain.


digg this
posted by Ace at 12:37 AM

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