[A necessary disclaimer: I did not vote for either Obama or McCain in November. My preference was not to choose between the lesser of two evils and I would not cast a vote for either of them in a future face-off. The first two posts in this group (Parts One and Two) focused on the campaigns of Obama, Clinton and Edwards. Lest anyone think I’m biased toward the Republicans, I offer this post in conclusion. It demonstrates all any clear thinking person ever needed to know for being glad they didn’t cast a vote for McCain or have a chance to cast one for Giuliani.]
On McCain’s attitude toward his campaign (p. 274):
Details made his head hurt. A fighter pilot through and through, McCain like to follow his instincts. He envisioned himself getting in his jet and taking off; whatever he left behind on the carrier deck ceased to exist in his consciousness. All that mattered was him, the place, and the mission. His approach to political combat was
the same. Wherever he was, whatever he was saying, whoever was listening–that was the campaign. The rest was noise. As far as McCain was concerned, he would win the election with a roster of events, a few Meet the Press appearances, and a sheaf of airplane tickets.
On his similarities to Hillary Clinton (p. 275, 277):
The new media reality depressed McCain, and the time-honored backroom chores of politics didn’t thrill him much, either. Like his friend Hillary Clinton, he found pleading for money and endorsements about as pleasant as a hot poker in the eye…Like Hillary, McCain valued loyalty above all else and avoided confrontation at all costs.
On his relationship with his wife, Cindy (p. 279, 280):
The McCains fought in front of others, during small meetings and before large events, to the amazement and discomfort of the staff. Things could escalate quickly. She cursed him; he cursed her. She cried; he apologized. Cindy fought back, too. I never wanted you to run for this, she said. You ruined my life. It’s all about you. When it came time to film campaign videos of the couple, the camera crews had to roll for hours to capture a few minutes of warmth.
FU** YOU! F***, F***, f***, f***, f***, f***, f***, f***, f***, f***!!! McCain let out the stream of sharp epithets, both middle fingers raised and extended, barking in his wife’s face. He was angry; she had interrupted him. Cindy burst into tears, but, really, she should have been used to it by now.
Cursing out his daughter (p. 283):
McCain was erupting over everything. At a scheduling meeting to discuss Meghan’s college graduation, McCain learned that the commencement was a multiday affair that would require him to make several round trips to New York. “How many fu**ing times do I have to go to fu**ing New York this week?” he yelled. “How many fu**ing times can you fu**ing graduate from fu**ing Columbia?”
On Giuliani being afraid of his wife (p. 290):
[Judith] called him constantly when he was traveling without her, no matter where he was or what he was doing. On several occasions the calls arrived when Giuliani was meeting with donors or making speeches. He invariable picked up the phone. “Hello, dear,” he said when she interrupted him while he was onstage addressing the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association. “I’m talking to the members of the NRA right now. Would you like to say hello?”
His staff concluded that Giuliani had no choice but to answer Judith’s calls, because ignoring her risked dire consequences–more dire than wrecking some speech. To the NRA members, Rudy apologized, but added, “It’s a lot better that way.”
On Romney’s famed inability to make decisions (p. 294):
For all Romney’s business acumen and affectations–he sometimes gave PowerPoint presentations instead of stump speeches–his advisers found him indecisive, an incorrigible vacillator. He would wait and wait, asking more and more questions, consulting with more and more people, ordering up more and more data. The internal debates over his message and even his slogan went on for months, without end or resolution.
Plans for McCain’s VP pick (p. 353):
The plan was always for McCain to shock the owrld with his vice-presidential pick. For weeks his top advisers had been dreaming and scheming, touching bases and laying groundwork, secretly readying an announcement at once unconventional, unexpected, and unprecedented, which would throw the press and both parties for a loop and redraw the political map. The surprise that McCainworld intended to spring was a running mate named Joe Lieberman. But then, something happened on the way to the Republican convention in St. Paul–and, presto chango, there was Palin.
On the selection of Sarah Palin (p. 361):
[No one] was poking or prodding to find every possible weakness in Palin. They asked her nothing to plumb the depths of her knowledge about foreign or domestic policy. They didn’t explore her preparedness to be vice president. They assumed she knew as much as the average governor, and that what she didn’t know, she would pick upon the fly. They weren’t searching for problems. They were looking for a last-second solution.
Another post that might be of interest is Our problem is bigger than a Massachusetts senate race.