McCain and his advisers have been compelled to adjust to the hostile environment around them. They have been compelled, at least in their telling, to abandon the campaign they had hoped to run. Now they are running a much more conventional race, the kind McCain himself used to ridicule.The problem? Too many bloggers. A bored press. A stuffy conservative establishment. McCain tried to take on the system, and the system won.
The man who lampooned the Message of the Week is now relentlessly on message (as observers of his fine performance at Saddleback Church can attest). The man who hopes to inspire a new generation of Americans now attacks Obama daily. It is the only way he can get the networks to pay attention.
Brooks is a conservative who admires McCain, so I suppose even this level of criticism is sort of admirable. Still, the passive-voice construction of the entire column really grates. Bloggers are somehow responsible for McCain running juvenile ads comparing Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears? A bored press is responsible for McCain claiming that Obama puts personal interest ahead of country? The conservative establishment prevented McCain from calling out Jerome Corsi's book for the vile trash that it is? The system forced McCain to hire one of Karl Rove's disciples as his campaign manager?
Enough. Just enough. There are plenty of ways of getting attention, and McCain made his own choices. No one forced them on him, not the system, not bloggers, not the press. If McCain is running a campaign based on personal destruction, he's doing it because that's the choice he made. Less passive voice, please.