Kevin Drum’s not the only liberal upset by a political press that can’t seem to hold John McCain responsible for John McCain’s campaign tactics. But isn’t the image painted in today’s stories — of McCain as a kind of passive bystander to decisions being made on his behalf by his staff — sort of more damning?
The presidency, after all, involves significant managerial challenges. And neither McCain nor Barack Obama has ever been a mayor or a governor or run an executive agency. Neither has ever run a company. McCain was a Navy officer, but he didn’t achieve the kind of rank where he had substantial managerial responsibilities — he flew airplanes, he didn’t command ships. For both of them, their presidential campaigns are the largest enterprises they’ve ever run. That’s not good preparation for the White House in either case, but we don’t have much else to go on. And if we’re supposed to believe that McCain can’t seize control of his own campaign strategy, then what does that say about his executive leadership?