McCain and the lobbyists

News this morning comes of yet another senior level resignation from the McCain campaign, yet another high-profile lobbyist stepping down. This remarkable spectacle of serial resignations, not something one sees in politics that often, speaks to the central dynamics of the emerging McCain campaign - his inability to escape the horrible politics of the Bush era, and his own very profound weaknesses as a candidate.

First, and we've written about this quite often, the Bush era brought to Washington a conservative politics more interested in protecting the perogatives, power and privilege of its leaders than serving the American people. Its economic strategies enriched the wealthy and ignored the increasingly difficult struggle of every day people. So little of consequence was done to improve the world or our life here at home, as huge problems like climate change, our dependence on fossil fuels, the aging of the baby boomers, immigration reform, our aging infrastucture and the modernization of our health care system all went unaddressed. Cherished and hard-fought civil liberties were undermined and we witnessed an almost unprecedented level of official corruption and strategic governmental deceit. So long out of power, the inability of these modern conservatives to use their newfound power for the common good has become the defining legacy of the Bush era.

Which is why by surrounding himself with dozens of lobbyists, the very symbols of this awful and corrupt political era, John McCain has done more to embrace the politics of the Bush era than his literal embrace of Bush, and the actual embrace of Bush's foreign, economic, entitlement and torture policies. Lobbyists have become for so many Americans the symbol of the triumph of the special interest over the interests of the people, and by being so - what is the word - stupid? - McCain has surrounded himself with perhaps the most potent symbols he could have imagined of what went wrong in this decade.

For those tracking this campaign, the central question that has to be answered is, "How did all these lobbyists get hired in the first place?" Is McCain that out of it, not aware of what is going on around him? Or he is just a very bad candidate and leader? As in so many other instances in this campaign, we come back to these set of questions, as we did with his serial and repeated confusion about Sunni and Shiite - is he just out of it, in a dangerous and threatening way? Or he is much less smart than we had all hoped? Either way the answer is a disturbing one - increasingly it appears that this once formidable Senator from Arizona is no longer up to the job of being President of these United States.

Update Mon 11am - The Post has a very good story on all this today as well.