WASHINGTON — 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.Look at the campaign he's run so far: messaging about how you can't trust Obama's message of hope, how voters should choose experience over change, and how he's braved physical danger in
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 cast includes the surviving members of Mr. McCain’s 2000 campaign, led by Rick Davis and Mark Salter; a new camp out of the world of Karl Rove, led by the recently ascendant Steve Schmidt; and on the periphery, the ever-present Mike Murphy, Mr. McCain’s strategist in the 2000 presidential race who has been dispensing advice to the candidate to the annoyance of the other camps, and is the subject of intensifying rumors in Republican circles that he is about to re-enter the campaign.
By my count, we'll hear McCain talk about his appeal with "hard working, white voters" sometime in October. By the eve of the election, we'll be told that "anything can happen, we all remember how William Henry Harrison died after his inauguration..."
Fun fact: John McCain actually remembers William Henry Harrison's inauguration.**
*Yes, it's an overused phrase.
**Okay, he probably doesn't. Don't be a spoilsport.