Is it just me, or does anyone else have the nagging feeling that the Republicans will somehow manage to dump John McCain this summer?
I’ll be the first to admit: I have no idea how they might do it at this point. I went so far as to leaf-through Republican National Committee Rule 15(e), which sets-out the various state committee rules on the extent to which delegates are bound to the candidate to which they are originally pledged. I don’t really see an out, given Mr. McCain’s overwhelming first-ballot majority at the nominating convention.
And maybe sacking Mr. McCain wouldn’t help the Republicans in the end. Certainly none of the other dwarves who contested the Republican primaries would likely fare any better; and even the popular Jeb Bush would find it tough-sledding campaigning in the shadow of his criminally delusional brother, as he well-understood by not entering the race in the first place.
But can they really stick with Mr. McCain? If the media didn’t love him so, he would have been laughed out of the race already. Sure, every candidate misspeaks, goes out on insecure factual limbs, and finds themselves (like the Red Queen) believing six impossible things before breakfast. That’s the peril of having a microphone in your face all-day-every-day. But Mr. McCain is proving himself the champion of what-the-fuck utterances. Not a day goes by when he doesn’t betray some significant misunderstanding of the way the world works, reverse himself of crucial matters of policy, or inadvertently undermine established lines-of-attack against Barack Obama.
And remember: quite a substantial part of the Republican base hated the guy even before he set out to become the most inept campaigner since Al Gore, John Kerry, or Bob Dole. The evangelicals don’t trust him and important Republican figures – from candidates in downstream races to right-wing media apparatchiks – are acting like rats abandoning a sinking ship. Note that more than twenty percent of the votes cast in the Republic primaries since Mr. McCain became the presumptive nominee have gone to others — either the lunatic Ron Paul or candidates who had already dropped from the race — or to none-of-the-above.
The mechanics may be mysterious, but I can’t believe the Republicans will simply cede victory to Mr. Obama by allowing Mr. McCain to stand as their candidate.