McCain Advisor Vows to Quit if Obama Nominated

In a somewhat strange turn of events, John McCain’s current Senior Media Advisor, Mark McKinnon, has already sent a memo to the campaign staff that should it turn out to be an McCain vs. Obama general election, he will quit, refusing to assist in tearing down Obama’s campaign.

It’s an oddity, to be sure, but one that could possibly explain Obama’s constant rise despite conventional wisdom. Despite being an Obama supporter, I am rather surprised at how well his campaign is fairing both at the polls and in raising funds. He’s undoubtedly inexperienced, at least in running a nationwide campaign, and in possibly the most important arena of communication at this stage of the campaign, the debates, he definitely is lacking the luster that is often times much needed for success, particularly when running in such a well stocked field. And yet, despite mediocre debate performances and accusations of being low on substance, despite a campaign that seems at most times to be unsure of itself and prone to rookie mistakes, Obama continues to rise.

And now he has the support, or at least the commitment to not deconstruct, from a top official in one of the Republican frontrunners campaign.

Why?

At its core, the movement behind Obama that seems to be pushing him whether he deserves it or not seems to rally behind a single belief that while most politicians promise to change politics, Barak Obama appears to be the only one that actually will.

This is, without doubt, the benefit of an image that the junior senator has spent years cultivating. He intentionally shies away from attack politics, but unlike the unsuccessful 04 bid, refuses to allow attacks to be levied against him. In debates, while other candidates are searching for that big thirty second soundbite that will rip through the media like a virus, Obama seems reluctant, or to some of his supporters glee, uncapable of doing this.

The whole construct of Obama as a candidate is to appeal to the intellect of a society without turning off those who freely express themselves as not being intellectuals, and for the Democratic party whose liberal base takes a certain pride in shunning red meat politics, this is a definite positive. On the opposite side of the aisle, Mike Huckabee appears to be the closest analogy in style, but suffers from a base which appears to thrive upon the gladiator-esque style of contemporary politics.

In this regard, Obama is lucky.

He’s a black man not running as a black candidate, a fact that is sometimes contrasted by Bill Richardson who is a Latino candidate who made it clear, at least during the first debate, that he is running as a Latino candidate. Obama is a bad debater, but his supporters actually seem to like it that way. He is, simply put, a political paradox that seems, beyond conventional wisdom, to actually be working.

Garrison Keillor, essayist of Prairie Home Companion fame nails it in his endorsement of the young senator:

That’s the appealing thing about presidential contender Barack Obama, in addition to his smarts and his resume. He is an outsider who found the center. He is completely new, a break from the old rhetoric, a guy who doesn’t pummel the old straw men or seem put together by pollsters. He has youth, skinniness, blackness, cool intelligence, an unabashed love of country, and it’s exciting to imagine him in the White House. He is a rebel who got over himself and discovered the beauty of the American cadence. Not like the Current Occupant, who came from the privileged mainstream and is still flailing against it, the Iraq war his latest attempt to prove that he knows better than Father.

In the end, what seems to be working best for Obama is the idea that voting for him is not voting for a candidate, or even based upon a set of issues, but instead for a broad idea on how this country should be. And somehow, it’s working.

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