a handful of McCain's longtime allies -- including his closest aide, Mark Salter, and two former lobbyists, Rick Davis and Charlie Black -- continue to hold senior posts in his campaign, many of his advisers from his first presidential bid now play tangential roles at best. In addition to Weaver, McCain's 2000 campaign manager, Michael Murphy, and press adviser Todd Harris are largely out of the McCain circle. The housecleaning, aides said, has been conducted largely by Schmidt, whose own Bush credentials run deep: He helped run the communications shop in the 2004 campaign and went on to work for Vice President Cheney and to shepherd the president's controversial nomination of Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court. Schmidt then ran California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's successful reelection campaign before withdrawing from national politics -- until he joined the McCain campaign in December 2006.The tone of McCain's campaign has taken in regards to Obama is pretty similar to the campaign run against Kerry. We're seeing the McCain Campaign jump on anything that could be potentially construed as a gaffe, insult, or flip flop. I refer to this tactic as Attack and Distract because the ultimate purpose of it seems to be to keep the presses eye negatively on the opposition thereby keeping the other campaign playing defense. It worked well enough on Kerry but given how poorly a similar stratagem worked for Clinton during the primaries I have to wonder if it won't ultimately come around and bite McCain in the posterior. I know several independents that are really turned off on McCain due to the campaigns recent negative turn.
The personnel shift has become a cause of distress for some Republicans, who had hoped for a new brand of Republicanism to take hold, fueled by players who had experience outside Washington. "It's insane to me that at the same time that it's running saying it's not going to be the Bush administration, this campaign looks like the Bush campaign on steroids," said one Republican strategist.
Additionally the fact that McCain has surrounded himself with so many Bushies really makes me wonder what his staff is going to look like. Given the errors and overreaches of the current administration I'd like to see McCain's administration full of fresh (and competent) faces. The distinct possibility of that not being the case gives me grave cause for concern.