Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Brooks on McCain

An interesting story from Brooks:
First, good candidates are never completely out of it. Several months ago I was covering a John McCain event in Keene, N.H. It was at the low point of the McCain candidacy, after his staff explosion and when the campaign bank account was dry. There was no bus and he was staying in the cheapest motels in town.

After the event, he invited the press corps out to dinner. I was the entire press corps. We went to a cheap hamburger place and I was tempted to buy him and his three aides dinner, since his campaign had no money. (Being a cheap journalist, I resisted the temptation.) But do you want to know what his mood was like?

He was fine. Winning the nomination, let alone the presidency, seemed like the longest of long shots back then. But he was fine with that. He wanted to win, but he was content to merely go to small gatherings and have his say. There was no bitterness. Nor was there any desperate casting about for ways to turn things around.

He just plugged along. He stayed true to himself. Eventually good and honest candidates get rewarded no matter how badly outspent they are, no matter how few consultants they have.

I'm still not a big McCain fan. He is arguably the worst legislator of the last half century. But you can't poke many holes in his integrity. If he can keep his campaign from being hijacked by his staff, he's got a chance. And it would be enormously interesting to see a couple of candidates that were having fun with real issues, as would be the case with an Obama-McCain race.

But my guess is that Obama would win on the issues. And Hillary will turn McCain into roadkill. It will, of course, have nothing to do with the issues.

No comments: