July 10, 2007

McCain's Top People Out

How serious is John McCain about running for president? Apparently, serious enough to have his top two people exit as the campaign attempts to turn its fortunes around in time for the primaries. He may also be considering a resignation from the Senate to show his commitment:

John McCain's campaign manager and chief strategist quit Tuesday, the second major staff shake-up in a week for the Republican presidential candidate who trails his rivals in money and polls.

In a statement, the Arizona senator said Terry Nelson and John Weaver offered their resignations, "which I accepted with regret and deep gratitude for their dedication, hard work and friendship."

Nelson, a veteran of President Bush's successful 2004 re-election effort, said he stepped down as campaign manager and Weaver, a longtime aide who ran McCain's failed 2000 presidential bid, said he left his post of chief strategist. Both resignations were effective immediately.

Some people may see this as the wheels coming off the campaign, but that has already arguably happened. This looks more like trying to put new wheels in place of the old while the vehicle is in motion. Both men have worked for McCain for years -- Weaver was a key man in McCain's failed 2000 primary bid -- and McCain would not have parted with them if he intends to quit. This signals that McCain wants to rethink his campaign strategy to such an extent that new management will be needed.

Nor could those be the only resignations. Via Michelle Malkin, US News says that McCain's advisors want him to quit the Senate. The argument is that it will show a Cortes-on-the-shore kind of commitment to the race, as well as free McCain from legislating. That would have two benefits -- a freer schedule and an ability to avoid the kind of policy wars like immigration that torpedoed McCain in the last month.

Unfortunately, that would put the seat into the hands of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. The Democrat would not likely name a Republican to fill the seat, tilting the balance of power in the Senate even more towards the Democrats. Such a move would not likely endear party stalwarts to McCain, the very people he needs to win back in a retooled campaign. I doubt that his resignation will be forthcoming soon.

But it should be clear that this shakeup underscores McCain's efforts to stay in the race. Whether it helps will be anyone's guess.


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Comments (24)

Posted by Carol Herman | July 10, 2007 12:32 PM

Drudge says McCain exits. It's over. Next to notice are all those just above Ron Paul's ZERO, but they only have a few percentage points: Tancredo, Brownback, Duncan Hunter, Tommy Thompson ... and then I forget who else.

It's still the president's ball.

He's still the guy that's got the power. Even though he hasn't got the ability to give a speech. Let's see what happens up ahead? The Bonkeys are going nuts, now, pushing for us getting out of Irak. And, Susan Collins (who is up for re-election in '08) is trying for a binding Irak measure that will do nothing different than what we've been doing in Irak for the past three years. Where we stopped fighting when Tommy Franks went home.

Mistakes? There've been a few. But AMericans don't lack courage.

It's that we're in the midst, now, of a propaganda war. And, the old media still wants Bush's head on a stick. They have no other ideas, ya know.

From where I sit, Bush did not intervene in the Libby propaganda bout; except at the end. To remove the rediculous prison sentence.

Maybe, that's the way he just plays his cards?

Posted by Lew | July 10, 2007 1:11 PM

It'll be interesting to see how McCain explains his failure here. Will it be the old tried and true "These voters are just too dumb to see the promised land even when I point it out to them!" or "I can't win against this evil cabal of conspiring interests with all the money!" or "I have to conclude that my record has screwed my future!"? Let's see!

I believe in the odds, and my bet is still on a Governor or a Mayor or someone whose been out of politics for a while. Sitting Senators need not apply!

Posted by davod | July 10, 2007 1:23 PM

I just listened to McCain defending the war..

He is the only one talking like this.

He has my vote.

Posted by Mwalimu Daudi | July 10, 2007 1:54 PM

I wonder why McCain thinks quitting the Senate will help him. Does he believe that it will cause GOP voters to forget his record? "I'm not in the Senate; therefore I don't have a Senate record."

Still, there is undeniable appeal in having McCain away from the levers of power. For that reason I am willing to humor him: Go ahead and quit, you big s**t-h**d, er, you big profile in courage.

Resign, John, resign!

Posted by Barnestormer | July 10, 2007 2:00 PM

"Unfortunately, that would put the seat into the hands of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano." CE

Not according to this


If a vacancy occurs due to a Senator's death, resignation, or expulsion, the 17th Amendment of the Constitution allows state legislatures to empower the governor to appoint a replacement to complete the term or to hold office until a special election can take place. (The only exception to this rule is Arizona, which requires a special election to fill all vacancies and does not allow for temporary appointments.) Typically, a replacement holds office until the next scheduled statewide election [emphasis added]."

But assuming the government source noted above is incorrect, and Napolitano does as a matter of AZ law have appointment authority (which appears to me to be the case),

"The Democrat would not likely name a Republican...." CE.

Art. 16-222, Arizona Revised Statutes, provides in pertinent part,

"C. For a vacancy in the office of United States senator, the governor shall appoint a person to fill the vacancy. That appointee shall be of the same political party as the person vacating the office and shall serve until the person elected at the next general election is qualified and assumes office [emphasis added]."

Unless this provision has been amended since Jan. 1, 2007, it appears that Janet would, at a minimum, need to appoint a RINO.

Posted by patrick neid | July 10, 2007 2:28 PM

while no one can be certain of the order the particulars would take many of us were certain about the ultimate outcome--john mccain had no chance to be president. a thin skin and age were two of the many restraints on him ever being president. there are many others that we are all aware of. i'm just being polite.

Posted by hunter | July 10, 2007 2:28 PM

McCain needs to stay and promote a policy of victory in the GWOT. He is very capable of this and would improve his standing in history greatly if he chooses to do this honorable thing.

Posted by Moonzoo | July 10, 2007 2:31 PM

As I have said here before, McCain is in this race to stay ... as a third party candidate running against the Republican candidate, just as Perot ran against the Republican to benefit Clinton. And in fact, he may well accomplish what Perot accomplished, to elect an otherwise unelectable Clinton.

Posted by doc | July 10, 2007 2:40 PM

It's a pity McCain didn't consider leaving the senate prior to his Immigration fiasco, or better, before his "gang of fourteen" stunt.

Posted by docjim505 | July 10, 2007 3:11 PM

I think Rush nailed it: McCain was only the "front-runner" / "presumptive nominee" to the (liberal) media and in his own mind. I think that it's safe to say that most conservatives can't stand him.

Posted by harleycon5 | July 10, 2007 3:20 PM

Senator McCain should face the facts, he cannot and will not win the nomination of his party. The only way he could possibly find a chance would be to switch to being Independent, and even then this would probably only elect the Democratic nominee to the whitehouse.
McCain would be foolish to quite he Senate, as it would gain him nothing except and early retirement from politics.

Posted by formermccainsupporter | July 10, 2007 3:39 PM

McCain lost my vote by:

1) Attempting to strip Americans of their constitutional right to free speech by limiting political speech injurious to incumbents 60 days before an election (McCain-Feingold) and

2) Failing to uphold the laws of the United States with respect to illegal immigration ... instead, attempting to foist amnesty on us due largely to the incompetence of government - threatening our economy and forcing Americans from their jobs.

McCain is a hero. A war hero.

As a Senator, he's never going to be President.

Posted by Labamigo | July 10, 2007 4:52 PM

McCain's problem is that he's in the wrong party.

Posted by Adjoran | July 10, 2007 6:46 PM

McCain wouldn't find a home in the Party of Defeat and Retreat, either.

His only chance for a viable third-party run would have been to do it from the beginning. To attempt an indy run now just smacks of sour grapes. He wouldn't draw much support from Republican voters . . . maybe a few single-issue pro-life votes if Giuliani is the nominee, but nothing else. Even more importantly, where does the money come from for an independent run?

The current fiscal crisis of the campaign is that they've spent the money to build a national organization, but slow fundraising isn't sufficient to support it. Not a good sign at all.

Posted by Okonkolo | July 10, 2007 6:46 PM

McCain's problem is that his positions are so close to the President's.

Posted by SkyWatch | July 10, 2007 6:49 PM

May we now stop talking about McCain and move on ?

Posted by Del Dolemonte | July 10, 2007 8:29 PM

: formermccainsupporter said

"McCain is a hero. A war hero.

As a Senator, he's never going to be President."

It's interesting to note that a "war hero" Senator ran for President in 1960 and won. A "war hero" Senator also ran for President in 2004 and lost. And gee, they both came from the same state!

The first one lit the fire on a war of choice that would kill some 55,000 American troops, many of whom had been drafted. The second guy served in said war, and apparently used the system to enhance his resume so he could run for President 40 years later.

Posted by ggeisel | July 10, 2007 8:52 PM

Why won't this old fart just go away?

Posted by Fight4TheRight | July 10, 2007 10:32 PM

I'm certainly no political strategist but it seems to me that McCain's voting record coupled with McCain-Feingold and McCain-Kennedy leaves him with no conservative votes and his solid stance supporting the Iraq War leaves him with no liberal votes.

And he expects to be doing better? :shrug:

And to Moonzoo,

you mention that Hillary Clinton is "unelectable." I hate to burst your bubble, but seriously, if that election was held today, she'd win by 10 points and if Fred gets in and it was held in six months, she'd win by 6 points. Granted, i'd rather fall on a pitchfork than see that woman elected but at this point, she's a shoe in.

Hillary makes very few mistakes and of course, not a single Dem dares to be in the primary race come next summer - at least if they value their life or that of their family's. Only one thing could sink Clinton and that is her opposition to the War Funding bill. And with Repub senators turning yeller left and right, she should have that monkey off her back by the middle of August.

Sad, I know...but true.

Posted by richard mcenroe | July 10, 2007 10:38 PM

John McCain is the McCain of McCain-Feingold...
the McCain of leaning on the Keating investigators...
the McCain of the Gang of Fourteen...
the McCain of the Kennedy-McCain backroom immigration deal...

That is why he will never be President and is probably in his last term as Senator...

Posted by Carol Herman | July 10, 2007 10:45 PM

McCain's seen millions going to get his name into the 2008 primaries. He's like a gambler whose lost; who still wants to keep on gambling. Nothing ya can do about it. I guess it gives Ron Paul company down there at the bottom of the barrel, I guess.

I've also noticed that quite a few politicians were unaware of how unpopular the Immigration Bill was, until it died. Actually twice.

And, of course, the left's still running with Hillary up there. It's not as if politicians are the smartest people, alive.

The most interesting question, ahead, though, will be given to Guiliani at some point. As he will be asked if he considers McCain worthy of a cabinet chair, should he win the nomination.

Like all gamblers, all they know is the "day after they've won." Even though it's impossible to know the future.

Heck, there's no question Bush was "halping" his friend, McCain, land up there, high among the candidates and how they're polling, now.

Immigration Bill, however, is the downside of a bad gamble.

Dunno how the voting on Irak will go. As I said, politicians don't have insight into human behaviors. Many of them think they can win on their smile. And, their haircut. Though George Allen learned the hard way, that this just isn't so.

But many myths are out there, because they're easy to absorb. They get ya out of bed in the morning. And, moving along the trail. For most? Like it is for gamblers. You just don't own the odds in your favor.

Actually, since politics is on par with LIVE THEATER, I'm waiting for the mishap. For what goes on off stage; among people with inflatable ego's. And, they must see opportunities, ahead. Why else to do they carry knives?

By the way, if you're counting, Albore's awful attempt at geriatic Live Rocker Show, was a bust. Which should make an immprint bigger than carbon on people who count those things.

So, there ya go. Hype didn't work.

Oh, and Fitz, so far, has a hung jury on his hands, in the Chicago case against Conrad Black. Let's see if he can put this man in jail for throwing a whopper of a birthday party for his wife.

We may be on the cusp of changes?

We may be seeing TIPPING POINTS, while nothing seems to be going one way. Or the other. It takes a lot of feet to move in any particular direction.

And, Bush has been misunderestimated, before.

I hope things will improve, ahead. Heck, London and Glasgow could'a been much worse, too. We really do have to thank our lucky stars. And, I'm still happier with Bush in the presidency than I ever would have been with Albore and the gigolo man.

Posted by Frank Vaughan | July 11, 2007 1:47 AM

>>Unless this provision has been amended since Jan. 1, 2007, it appears that Janet would, at a minimum, need to appoint a RINO.

And that RINO would be none other than Grant Woods, who, as co-chair of the committee trying to get Matt Salmon elected as governor, announced (several weeks before the election) that he planned to become a Democrat.

Talk about sucking all of the air out of a room.

Posted by Rose | July 11, 2007 2:04 AM

But it should be clear that this shakeup underscores McCain's efforts to stay in the race. Whether it helps will be anyone's guess.

Sorry, Capt. this is the easiest read of ALL the candidates, including Ron Paul. NOT EVEN IF HELL FREEZES OVER.

However, I am tempted to bombard his campaign site with recommendations that his resignation from the Senate will greatly move forward his agenda, and give him time for a grass roots revival.

That would be so fabulous - make his whole entire campaign actually worth it.

Posted by Rose | July 11, 2007 2:08 AM

And - excuse me - if Janet appointed a DIM - what SHIFT would THAT create?