Monday, July 02, 2007

Portrait of a former GOP shoo-in

At one point, it seemed the GOP nomination was McCain's to lose. And guess what? It looks like he will lose it. Yes, in the race to see who can do the best imitation of a Bush conservative without actually invoking Bush himself, McCain is stumbling quite badly.

Sen. John McCain's once formidable presidential campaign is in deep trouble, as senior officials announced Monday that worsening financial problems have forced them to lay off staff in all departments and the campaign manager will work without pay.

Specifically, McCain has let go of about 50 people. Hopefully, his campaign manager has a really reliable source of income and other job prospects, because this campaign might not look so good on a resume.

Three months after promising to do a better job raising money for his campaign, McCain, an Arizona Republican, posted another disappointing tally. He brought in $11.2 million in the second quarter of this year, down from the $12.5 million raised during the first quarter.

"We wanted to invite the Beach Boys to sing 'Bomb Iran,' but nobody called back."

Once considered the front-runner for the Republican nomination, McCain put together a classic front-runner's operation with a large and expensive staff, a plethora of paid consultants and a vast grass-roots network of local officials publicly backing him.

Maybe some of these staffers are covert DLC operatives? "Hey, we couldn't win elections for the Democrats, so let's lose some elections for the other side! Yeah, that'll do it! Thank us in 2008, guys!"

But McCain has suffered nationally as he repeatedly made the case for keeping American troops in Iraq, siding with an unpopular president. But most damaging has been the debate over immigration as McCain advocated for broad reforms that would beef up security at the borders and, more controversially, provide illegal immigrants with a path to citizenship.

"We took a pretty good pounding for the last few weeks on immigration and it had an effect," said Mark Salter, a senior adviser. "But McCain is not going to pander his way to the nomination."

"McCain is not going to pander his way to the nomination." Mr. Salter, are you aware of whose campaign you're working on?

On the plus side, McCain is probably nice to his dog. Assuming he owns one.