How Revolving Narratives Swamped Would-Be Narrator

McCain's move from tactic to tactic resulted in confused overall strategy
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2008 4:11 PM CDT
Republican presidential candidate John McCain salutes during a rally yesterday in Cincinnati.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – John McCain’s campaign has gone through a dizzying number of narratives, as Robert Draper outlines in the New York Times. Draper looks inside a dysfunctional operation driven by two quarreling old McCain friends (Rick Davis and speechwriter Mark Salter), and the Rovian outsider who reconciled them (Steve Schmidt). The troika has engineered at least six separate messages because, one insider said, “we still couldn’t answer the question ‘Why elect John McCain?’”

However, Draper writes, “by October, the succession of backfiring narratives would compel some to reappraise not only McCain’s chances but also the decisions made by Schmidt.” And advisers recognize the pitfalls in a campaign where McCain has derided Barack Obama for confusing tactics with strategy: “For better or for worse, our campaign has been fought from tactic to tactic,” one says.