Old McCain Aides Regret New McCain

John McCain has had a coterie of advisers that has worked with him, off and on, for his entire political career. John Weaver and Mike Murphy are two such men. Despite the fact that they are not working for McCain’s current presidential campaign, they are devoted McCainiacs. And both have become disheartened with the direction the McCain campaign has taken these past few weeks.

Weaver, a man the Washington Post once called McCain’s Karl Rove, is quoted in the Politico:

“People need to understand, for moral reasons and the protection of our civil society, the differences with Sen. Obama are ideological, based on clear differences on policy and a lack of experience compared to Sen. McCain,” Weaver said. “And from a purely practical political vantage point, please find me a swing voter, an undecided independent, or a torn female voter that finds an angry mob mentality attractive.”

“Sen. Obama is a classic liberal with an outdated economic agenda. We should take that agenda on in a robust manner. As a party we should not and must not stand by as the small amount of haters in our society question whether he is as American as the rest of us. Shame on them and shame on us if we allow this to take hold.”

Murphy, who was a key player in McCain’s 2000 campaign, has similar sentiments. Here he is writing in Time:

For the last nine weeks the McCain campaign has tried win [sic] by raising Obama’s negatives. Ads have attacked, McCain and Palin has have attacked. This has failed. Over the top negative attacks and a campaign message that too often seems to be little more than sarcasm and suppressed anger has damaged McCain’s priceless and hard earned “brand” as a different kind of Republican. McCain’s best option now is to ditch the chainsaw and offer a scared and angry country what it badly wants; hope and leadership.

Both of these men fell in love with the McCain of 2000, who believed in the power of clean politics, government reform, and respect for the process and one’s opponents. They don’t see that McCain anymore. Keep in mind, though, that their only experience with McCain in a cauldron was the 2000 primary campaign. McCain didn’t win. If he had, who knows how he would have behaved in October, especially if he found his dream of obtaining the White House slipping away.