The Problem With Defending McCain

Ambinder makes an attempt at defending McCain’s recent strategy:

CW tells us that John McCain’s ADD-like inability to focus on domestic policy issues and the campaign’s repetitive, reactive taunting of Barack Obama will burn through whatever goodwill he has with independent voters.

The truth is McCain’s strategy may be at once reactionary, ill-conceived, and entirely rational, especially during this pre-convention period. While in excess of 90% of self-identified Republicans support McCain, this segment of the electorate has shrunk. A lot of Republican leaners no longer identify as Republicans. Instead, they identify as independents. Their political identities have changed; their ideology has stayed the same.

Fair enough, but that begs the question, why exactly don’t they identify as Republicans anymore? Because the economy sucks? Because they aren’t big on the Iraq war anymore? Because Bush embarrasses them? Whatever the reason, it obviously exists, it would seem that the secret here would be to identify why that happened and to address it, not to too out base red meat to people who don’t identify with the base anymore.

I think the more likely explanation is the one offered by a “Republican strategist” to Ambinder later; that the McCain campaign is running behind, nothing they do works, they’re being run by a bunch of second-rate Roves, and so they’re just lashing out in negative attacks against Obama, saying what might otherwise be left to The Corner.