Sometimes the enemy of my enemy is his own shadow. Such can be said of a man who must walk as fast as he can towards the camera lights as his own campaign demons sneak up behind him. It is for these reasons that John McCain has my sympathy. He is not only battling the charismatic force of nature standing across the podium from him but he also has to repress the corrupting influences trying to whisper into his ear on a daily basis. These influences are black as night, drenched in oil and brimming with a confidence unique to a good con man. They know full well that they can pin Senator Vietnam down on the mat, yank his wallet and steal his lunch money. They know because they have done it before.
Back in 2000, the then honorable John McCain was fighting a trench war against Governor George W. Bush in the Republican primaries. McCain was up against the wall and likely to lose with values voters but that wasn’t enough for the nasty Neocon brigade. They didn’t just want to win over Johnny Mac, they wanted to mortally wound him. McCain is the kind of Republican that the Neocons can do without. He is a self-described maverick, a man who thinks for himself. He is brutally honest, unafraid of confrontation and always willing to speak his mind. He will stand up to any authority figure or group, no matter how loud they yell. He is an island and thus, he is uncontrollable. He is a barrier against those who wish to use the Presidency as a tool for stealing wealth. John McCain is a real threat and so, they cast every deadly aspersion possible in his direction. He was accused of siring a black baby, being a Manchurian candidate and suffering shell shock that made him incapable of taking office. He was irreligious, a hater of Christians, a secret liberal who had too many close friends on the blue team. He could not be trusted. He was broken beyond repair. He was angry. He had secrets.
When the dust had settled, Johnny Mac was still standing, but his Presidential ambitions had been pulled down around his ankles. The Neocons had succeeded in hurting him, but the wounds were not fatal. In the following eight years he healed. He found a way to appear as if he were walking in lock step and prepared himself for a position of ascendancy. When Republicans crowned the next most likely candidate for the throne, he was there. That time is now, but one thing is different. Unlike Governor Bush, John did not bring along his own cadre of ambitious marketers. He instead inherited many of the same Neocons who tried to bury him back in South Carolina. They have become his shadows. They have promised him the same power and accolades given so freely to his predecessor, but with a price. The Maverick attitude had to go, but can it?
A co-worker recently asked me why I wasn’t trying to convert people towards voting for Obama. My answer is that I don’t have to. John McCain won’t win the Presidency. Not because Obama is so much better, but because McCain is a bigger threat to the Neocons. If Barack wins, the Neo-crazies keep control of the upper echelon of the Republican Party. They can hide in the trees, reloading their ideology in preparation of a future counterstrike. However, if John McCain wins, he can redefine the Republican Party. He can toss the Neocons out, and replace them with his more moderate brand of pragmatic, bipartisan operatives. He can snap the back of a greedy, hate driven faction. The moment the Maverick takes the oath of office he can pull a Teddy Roosevelt and wall off the very forces that put him in office. He can do it, he will do it and they know it.
For proof of the factional infighting, one only needs to know the story of Florida in 2006. Then Attorney General Charlie Crist had decided to run for Governor, but in order to win he had to get in good with Jeb Bush’s Neocon brigade. He needed the Bush endorsement, connections and financing. Charlie Crist charmed the Neocons and won the election. Then, after he took the oath of office, the new Governor fired 300 members of the former administration. In one sweeping dismissal, he threw out the entire Neocon power structure in Florida. I captured this story in detail in my novel, Purple State. The relevance should be obvious. Charlie Crist is a close friend of John McCain, he is a confidant of the Senator and they are leaders of the pragmatic, reform faction in the Republican Party. Charlie gave the axe to the Neocons, and John is preparing to do the same thing. There is no way they will let him do it.
As the trickle of confusing, and often counterproductive, advertising slogans create a drag on the McCain campaign, don’t be surprised when someone drops the anchor through the floor. Maybe Sarah Palin has slippery hands? John can’t trust anyone. Regardless, he will do everything in his power to win this race but the shadows who fear him will make sure that he does not cross the finish line. Obama might very well win by default but he will win. As always, the Maverick stands alone.