Sunday, June 15, 2008

McCain Diluting Reputation

From the Baltimore Sun article by Paul West, on John McCain diluting his "rare reputation."

"John McCain once had the most powerful brand in American politics.

"He was often called the country's most popular politician and widely admired for his independent streak. It wasn't too many years ago that 'maverick' was the cliche of choice in describing him."

The cliche of choice. That's a good way of putting it. If you're going to depend on cliches for your reputation you have to keep up the facade. In the case of being a "maverick" that means opposition on your own side. Once they accept you as their nominee your maverick days are finished. Then the scrutiny and revelation begins!

You're never as good as your reputation. Your reputation is based on people's limited exposure to the whole you. Once we dig into the whole you, our findings expand and your reputation takes a hit. So, the preference from McCain's point of view is for the reputation to be essentially true and with hidden depths we've never known. That helps buy time. Yet still he's up against being the nominee, fully accepted, so no longer the maverick.

Being a nominee he has lots of people to please, those of his own side and those he might possibly swing to his side. Mavericks in that role? No, because the people have to be pleased.

There's no way he could transition to this and keep the cliche as more or less true. A much shorter campaign would've helped McCain, who has to hope no one sees the real him in time.

No comments: