May 11, 2008

McCain makes ugly moves

The Maverick had a bad week.

After nixing one choice for GOP convention chairman because he'd once done lobbying work for totalitarian regimes, John McCain picked Doug Goodyear for the post, only to see him resign within hours of a Newsweek article that revealed he'd once lobbied on behalf of Myanmar's brutal military junta, which is currently blocking international aid to its cyclone-stricken people.

A second McCain appointee resigned a short while later for the same reason.

One could certainly argue that the appointments scandal is merely a matter of bad timing. After all, who really spends that much time contemplating Myanmar? Well, John McCain for one. He's been an outspoken critic of the regime, repeatedly calling for more aggressive action against the "thugs" in charge. In the days after the cyclone, his rhetoric has generally been more heated and confrontational than that of his Democratic rivals.

Of course, voters might dismiss all of this as insider intrigue. But the audience McCain has to be most concerned about is the press. There's a fine line between Straight Talker and hypocrite, and once you cross it it's nearly impossible to go back. I wouldn't be surprised if this bumbling ultimately leads to a bigger shakeup in his campaign, with McCain finding a way to dump manager Rick Davis for someone whose Rolodex includes numbers off K Street.

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