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Don't Let Mccain Be Mccain, Mccainiacs

I agree with Mike--who has a post on The Stump exploring the dangers of "letting McCain be McCain."

The bind McCain faces is that he's a stilted candidate when scripted. But when you let "McCain be McCain," he says and does things that seem to translate poorly in the YouTube/blog era.

The corollary to this is best exhibited by Matthew Continetti's helpful piece on McCain, Obama, and immigration. Continetti concludes that McCain has in essnce ceded the Latino vote to Obama, and adds:

McCain could make drivers licenses for illegal immigrants an issue, but he's unlikely to do so. It seems he wants to stay as far away from the immigration issue as possible.

Continetti is right, I think, to suggest that McCain should stay away from the issue of immigration, and that speaking out in any sort of manner is unlikely to do him much good. But, as any reader of Mickey Kaus' blog can attest, even a scripted McCain cannot seem to maintain a coherent message on immigration: He constantly ends up infuriating people (like Mickey) who want more border security. My sense is that an unscripted or uncaged McCain is likely to exacerbate his problems with key Republican constituencies. In short, it is not just the blunders that make YouTube and cable television that he needs to worry about; it is also the careful balancing of interests and interest groups who obsess over their particular issues. The dust-up over cap-and-trade today--the cause of which remains murky--is nevertheless the kind of thing that one can see happening every day with a McCain who has been "let loose." 

--Isaac Chotiner