McCain aide Mark McKinnon says he will quit the campaign if Barack Obama wins the Democratic nomination.
McKinnon — a Democrat-turned Republican who was President Bush’s chief media adviser in 2004 — told National Public Radio he would leave the McCain team to avoid involvement in any attacks on Obama.
“I met Barack Obama. I read his book. I like him a great deal,” he said. “I disagree with him on very fundamental issues. But I think … it would be a great race for the country and I would simply be uncomfortable being in a campaign that would be inevitably attacking Barack Obama. I think it would be uncomfortable for me, and I think it would be bad for the McCain campaign.”
Hmm. He disagrees with Obama on fundamental issues, but he'll resign from McCain's campaign rather than oppose him. He's willing to run attack ads on Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, but not Barack Obama. And he was the chief media advisor to George W. Bush in 2004. I think this guy is a compelling argument for adding a 53rd card to the Deck of Weasels.
Seriously, Mr. McKinnon obviously has identified Obama as a winner, and is positioning himself for a place at the table - or perhaps some more tangible reward - this time next year.
His highly attenuated loyalty also raises some important questions for Republicans. First, is "big tent" Republicanism really a good idea? They've got moles like McKinnon poised to bolt when they most need him, and they've got Log Cabin "Republicans" directing most of their campaign dollars to Democrats. Can leftists ever have anything but contempt for grass-roots conservative Republicans?
Second, what does this McKinnon affair say about McCain as a judge of character? What other moles would he escort into the inner sanctum? Is he the Most Likely to Be Soutered of the Class of 2008? It was tough enough for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush to identify conservatives for nomination to the Supreme Court. Is McCain up to it?
McCain's selling point, I suppose, is that he's not Barack Obama. Who's on Obama's short list for Supreme Court nomination? Now that William Kunstler has died, one has to assume that John Edwards has moved up the list. He would be a dependable vote for the edgy new government programs Obama has hinted at, and by enthroning him, Obama would remove him as a challenger in 2012.
John Kennedy's Supreme Court legacy was to nominate Byron White, the last pro-life Justice appointed by a Democrat, and one of the few by either party.