Who’s whining now? It certainly came as no surprise when Phil Gramm–the former Texas Senator and economic adviser–stepped down as co-chairman of Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign. As much as McCain’s Democratic rival Barack Obama was assailed as being an elitist, Gramm did McCain no favors when he described the American public as "whiners" and the current recession as merely "mental." And while McCain distanced himself from Gramm for a time, he still trusted Gramm enough to have him speak on his behalf to The Wall Street Journal editorial board following the disclosure of the comments.
Perhaps as much as anything, Gramm’s tenure showed serious strains within the McCain camp. Any one who’s spent time around the presumed Republican candidate understands how much loyalty means to McCain. He stood by former campaign manager Rick Davis for months, despite evidence that Davis’ decentralized system wasn’t working. In 1996 McCain supported Gramm’s failed presidential bid until the senator dropped out of the race. Now, most likely, McCain will call upon another individual to take Gramm’s place–further muddling his team. One only has to look to Obama’s camp–his lack of defections, with everyone on message–to understand precisely what McCain faces: A true machine.
Going forward, McCain might want to take a look at Gail Sheehy’s Vanity Fair report about the chaos of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s primary campaign. For a man who likes to stand for law and order, for security, it’s time for him to instill some within his ranks.