Jen, it’s even worse. The New York Times claims John McCain “rejected his advisers’ options over the weekend as too gimmicky, according to one Republican close to the campaign.” This means he’s spooked. Forget that all the trash-talk about Sarah Palin, suspending the campaign, and stirring up prejudice had an impact on the electorate: it had an impact on the candidate. McCain is now trying to anticipate the hostile responses to his every move. If he resists doing what he perceives as the next right thing, and lets silly criticisms dictate each step, the irony is that his actions will be, by definition, gimmicky.
For a while now the McCain campaign has been directionless and contradictory. But with this, it’s identifiably neurotic. A stumbling campaign can right itself by honing a message and stepping up its broadcast, but an insecure campaign sets in motion the machinery of self-fulfilling prophecy.