Was just talking to a close and sympathetic observer of John McCain. He says of Weaver that in this campaign “everything he did was wrong.” He “wanted to re-build the Bush campaign of 2000,” but the idea that McCain would ever be that strong was a “flawed assessment.” Politically, at first the campaign wanted to “cleverly” woo the Right; then it wanted McCain “to be the independent again on the re-launch”; then it did immigration, not realizing that “you only get so many heresies.” The deepest irony was that Weaver “tried to do the Bush campaign just as Bush was falling out of favor” with the Right.
It was a “deep structural problem as they were blowing through the money” on the theory that they could “hire every operative in American.” Then you “couldn’t fill your coffers again because he had alienated the base of the party on immigration.” Weaver’s ouster was the result of “the money and the complete collapse of all the assumptions.”
(Putting on his psychoanalyst’s hat, this source speculates that Weaver “wanted to be Rove,” comparing the situation to a Greek tragedy, with Weaver trying to replicate the operative’s campaign who destroyed his campaign in 2000, in the process destroying his own campaign in 2008.)
He says he’s in “complete shock about Salter. If that’s true, no one is left in McCain world.”
He says Salter was like a son to McCain and “he could write what McCain felt.” “Weaver [his ouster] I was surprised by, but I could understand”–but not Salter.
Part of the unraveling of McCain’s world is also the fact that Fred Thompson is running for president: “He was as close to McCain as Lindsey [Graham] is today, they were inseparable.” And so it goes in the McCain meltdown…