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John McCain often brags about being the maverick in his own party. It looks like he got his wish to be the permanent maverick as his friends and allies are leaving his cause in droves. After a debate in which he showed some temerity, Republicans still aren’t convinced he can seal the deal. Party loyalty has been in disrepair since the VP Pick Sarah Palin joined the ticket. McCain and his campaign have had a hard time bailing water out of their sinking boat. The list after the jump.


Republicans Jump Ship

The official list of Republicans and conservatives jumping ship,

pointing fingers, or otherwise abandoning the McCain campaign

50 entries and growing • by Jed Lewison and Barath Raghavan

Former Secretary of State during the Bush Administration Colin Powell (Sun Oct. 19)

Powell said he questioned Sen. John McCain’s judgment in picking Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate because he doesn’t think she is ready to be president.

CC Goldwater Granddaughter of the late Barry Goldwater (Thurs Oct. 23) 

Our generation of Goldwaters expects government to provide for constitutional protections. We reject the constant intrusion into our personal lives, along with other crucial policy issues of the McCain/Palin ticket.

Scott McClellan, former White House Press Secretary to George W. Bush (Thurs Oct. 23)

The former Bush administration official said he wanted to support the candidate that has the best chance for changing the way Washington works and getting things done.

Kathleen Parker (Fri Oct 17):

National Review writer Kathleen Parker takes another big step away from the GOP, declaring that Republicans “do not, in fact, deserve to win this time, and someone [Chris Buckley] had to remind them why.”

Richard Lugar (Wed Oct 15):

Richard Lugar, the seniormost Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, came close to a full endorsement of Obama by endorsing his approach to foreign policy – specifically, his emphasis on diplomacy.

RNC (in Wisconsin) (Wed Oct 15):

The RNC is giving up on McCain in Wisconsin.  TV stations report that they’ve stopped airing ads attacking Obama, and won’t comment on the pullout.

Rush Limbaugh (Tue Oct 14):

Rush Limbaugh all but accepted the fact that John McCain had lost this election, asking Sarah Palin “have you even thought about a political future beyond this campaign?” Obviously, if Limbaugh thought McCain could win…her political future would be as Vice President.

Heather Mac Donald (Tue Oct 14):

Conservative pundit Heather Mac Donald systematically disassembles McCain’s VP pick and concludes that “conservatives should not sacrifice standards for political advantage.”

Matthew Dowd (Tue Oct 14):

Matthew Dowd, a former Bush strategist, let the cat out of the bag: “They didn’t let John McCain pick the person he wanted to pick as VP…[McCain] knows, in his gut, that he put somebody unqualified on the ballot. He knows that in his gut, and when this race is over that is something he will have to live with… He put somebody unqualified on that ballot and he put the country at risk, he knows that.”

Dennis Hopper (Mon Oct 13):

Loyal Republican actor-director Dennis Hopper is giving up on his party, at least for this election, complaining of the “lies” of the current administration and saying “I voted for Bush, father and son, but this time I’ll vote for Obama.”

Mickey Edwards (Mon Oct 13):

Republican Mickey Edwards, formerly a congressman from Oklahoma, distances himself from McCain, saying “today, thanks to a campaign apparently managed by Moe, Curly, and Larry, he comes across as erratic (Obama’s word, but it fits), impulsive, befuddled, and ill-tempered, and apparently unable to utter any words other than ‘surge’ and ‘earmarks.'”  Edwards also plays the blame game very explicitly: “If Obama gets a big win, it will be McCain himself, and the Three Stooges calling the shots at his headquarters who will deserve whatever blame is attached for transforming a viable and energetic Obama campaign into a steamroller grinding the Republican Party into the ground.”

David Frum (Mon Oct 13):

David “axis of evil” Frum gets his “I told you so” ready at the National Review and rebukes his critics who complain that he isn’t cheerleading for McCain enough.  He concludes: “Perhaps it is our job at NRO is tell our readers only what they want to hear, without much regard to whether it is true. Perhaps it is our duty just to keep smiling and to insist that everything is dandy – that John McCain’s economic policies make sense, that his selection of Sarah Palin was an act of statesmanship, that she herself is the second coming of Anna Schwartz, and that nobody but an over-educated snob would ever suggest otherwise.”

Ray LaHood (Mon Oct 13):

Rep. LaHood, who has represented Illinois’ 18th district for seven terms and is retiring in January, told WBBM Radio that Palin should control the racially-charged heckling at her rallies: “Look it. This doesn’t befit the office that she’s running for. And frankly, people don’t like it.”

Michelle Malkin (Mon Oct 13):

Michelle Malkin expresses her disappointment in McCain after learning that “John McCain had no problem calling ACORN members his friends during his ill-fated illegal alien shamnesty crusade.”  She concludes, “We’re Screwed ’08.”

Erick Erickson (Mon Oct 13):

Erick Erickson, “editor in chief” of, is giving up on McCain: “With only a few weeks left until election day, let’s be blunt: McCain-Palin ’08 does not seem to be making headway against the polling.”  He suggests that McCain needs to choose between himself and senate/house Republicans, and suggests that his readers focus on downballot races: “The Republican numbers in the House and Senate can be salvaged, but in the next few weeks there must be a realistic assessment from the McCain campaign regarding winning his own race versus helping Congressional Republicans mitigate their losses.”

Ed Rollins (Mon Oct 13):

Rollins, who managed Reagan’s 1984 campaign: “And while chaos and disarray reigned supreme in Sen. Barack Obama’s opponents’ campaigns, the steady, disciplined and strategically driven Obama campaign marches forward toward likely victory.”

Bill Kristol (Mon Oct 13):

Kristol: “It’s time for John McCain to fire his campaign. He has nothing to lose. His campaign is totally overmatched by Obama’s.”

Lee Terry (Mon Oct 13):

In Nebraska, a Republican representative, Lee Terry, ran a newspaper ad featuring support from a woman who called herself an “Obama-Terry voter.”

Linda Smith (Sun Oct 12):

Linda Smith, Republican chairwoman in Clark County, Ohio. “I have to blame the McCain camp for not pushing it hard enough,” added Smith, whose rural county lies between Dayton and Columbus. “It’s so ingrained in people’s minds that Republicans are good on national security, but Democrats are good on the economy, and it’s very hard to counter that.”

Tom Ellis (Sun Oct 12):

Tom Ellis, GOP chairman in Butler County, Ohio, a key Republican stronghold in 2004, said there had been “some slippage” for McCain in recent weeks. He said Republicans were finding it “hard to penetrate” the torrent of bad economic news and deliver an effective pitch to independents. And the Arizona senator’s attacks on Obama’s past links to former radical William Ayers, he said, “do not garner him any advantage” with swing voters. “There’s a sense of frustration at this point,” Ellis said. “What I hear is people are expecting more of the Republican ticket. They’ve got to speak directly to the economic issues. People want to hear specific solutions from Sen. McCain.”

Roger Stone (Sun Oct 12):

Roger Stone, a longtime McCain supporter, said the state party and the national campaign bear almost equal blame. ”This effort lacks coordination and a cooperative spirit and it’s showing,” Stone said. “But it’s more than mechanics. The campaign has no consistent message.”

George LeMieux (Sun Oct 12):

George LeMieux, Crist’s former campaign manager and staff chief, said McCain erred in not choosing Crist as running mate. ”If Gov. Crist was the vice presidential nominee, John McCain would be winning Florida,” he said.

Charlie Crist (Sun Oct 12):

“Saturday, he skipped a McCain football rally and instead went to Disney World.”

Patrick Ruffini (Sat Oct 11):

Conservative columnist Patrick Ruffini argues that the RNC needs to give up on McCain and try to save Republican house and senate seats, and that “McCain should start explicitly making the argument for divided government, with him as the only hope of preserving it. This is unlikely to be a voting issue at the Presidential level, but we need to get the idea percolating that we are about to elect Obama with unchecked, unlimited power.”  That is, Ruffini wants to sacrifice McCain to save congressional Republicans.

Mitt Romney (Sat Oct 11):

Mitt Romney said McCain, who has offered scattershot proposals on the economy, should present a broad vision of how he would lead the country through the economic crisis. “I’m talking about standing above the tactical alternatives that are being considered,” Romney said, “and establish an economic vision that is able to convince the American people that he really knows how to strengthen the economy.”

Robert A. Gleason Jr. (Sat Oct 11):

Robert A. Gleason Jr., the Republican chairman in Pennsylvania, said he was concerned that Mr. McCain’s increasingly aggressive tone was not working with moderate voters and women in the important southeastern part of a state that is at the top of Mr. McCain’s must-win list.

Tommy Thompson (Sat Oct 11):

Former Republican Governor of Wisconsin, said it would be difficult for Mr. McCain to win in his state but not impossible, particularly if he campaigned in conservative Democratic parts of the state. Asked if he was happy with Mr. McCain’s campaign, Mr. Thompson replied, “No,” and he added, “I don’t know who is.”

Saul Anuzis (Sat Oct 11):

Saul Anuzis, the Republican chairman in Michigan, said “I think you’re seeing a turning point, you’re starting to feel real frustration because we are running out of time. Our message, the campaign’s message, isn’t connecting.”

Norm Coleman (Fri Oct 10):

Coleman bails on McCain rally: “[Norm] Coleman told reporters that he would not be appearing at a planned rally with McCain this afternoon. Could it be McCain’s sliding polling numbers in Minnesota? His attacks on Obama?”

Bob Eleveld (Fri Oct 10):

Bob Eleveld, former Kent County Republican chairman who led McCain’s West Michigan campaign in 2000, said: “I’m not supporting either of them [McCain or Obama] at this point. I think the straight talk is gone.”

William Milliken (Fri Oct 10):

Former Republican Governor of Michigan William Milliken, who endorsed McCain during the primaries, said: “He is not the McCain I endorsed; he keeps saying, ‘Who is Barack Obama?’ I would ask the question, ‘Who is John McCain?’ because his campaign has become rather disappointing to me. I’m disappointed in the tenor and the personal attacks on the part of the McCain campaign, when he ought to be talking about the issues.”

Ed Rollins (Fri Oct 10):

Ed Rollins ran Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign in 1984, so he knows a thing or two about landslides — and  he’s predicting one for Barack Obama. At this point, he says the only question left to answer is whether John McCain will take the Republican Party down with him.

Joshua Trevino (Fri Oct 10):

Joshua Trevino, co-founder of, wrote on his blog: “In the end, I couldn’t do it…I opened it fully intending to vote for John McCain…Do I believe in John McCain? Not as much as I used to. Do I believe in Sarah Palin? Despite my early enthusiasm for her, now not at all. Do I believe in the national Republican Party? Not in the slightest — even though I see no meaningful alternative to it. So, my choice for President in 2008, scrawled in my ballot as an act of futile protest, is Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.”

Matt Lewis (Fri Oct 10):

Matt Lewis, a contributing writer for the conservative Web site, told CNN the plan only further riles conservatives upset with McCain’s backing of the massive government bailout plan passed last week. “Fundamentally, the problem is John McCain accepts a lot of liberal notions, unfortunately. There is somewhat of a populist streak,” he said. “Most conservatives really did not like the bailout to begin with, and this was really kind of picking at the scab.”

Michelle Laxalt (Thu Oct 9):

Republican Laxalt slams the McCain campaign’s tactics.

Michigan GOP (Thu Oct 9):

The Michigan GOP is in disarray, and said the following about those jumping ship in an email they sent to local supporters: “In the meantime, there have been several individuals, including some disgruntled former employees, who have tried to take advantage of the situation by stealing cell phones, and other electronic equipment, as well as substantial amounts of collateral materials.  In at least one instance there was an employee who vandalized their victory center on the way out the door.”

National Review Editorial Board (Thu Oct 9):

“We never thought we would defend the Frank-Dodd legislation, which we bitterly opposed last summer. But it looks downright prudent compared to what McCain has proposed. McCain’s plan is a full bailout for lenders.”

Perry Diaz (Wed Oct 8):

Perry Diaz, chairman of the National Federation of Filipino-American Republicans, resigned from his post and withdrew his endorsement, saying “I endorsed McCain before the California primary believing that he was the right man for the job.  I was wrong.  His selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate and his decision a few days ago to resort to personal attacks on Obama’s character and integrity run counter to my personal beliefs and core values.  I have lost my respect for McCain and I believe that a McCain/Palin administration would only worsen the economic situation in the country.”

David Brooks (Wed Oct 8):

David Brooks rips apart McCain’s pick for VP, saying “Sarah Palin represents a fatal cancer to the Republican party.”

George Will (Wed Oct 8):

George Will laments McCain’s campaign and quotes an Orioles manager: “Are you going to get any better or is this it?”  His takeaway?  “Obama in a romp in November? Don’t be surprised”

Lilibet Hagel (Tue Oct 7):

Lilibet Hagel, wife of Republican senator Chuck Hagel, appeared with Susan Eisenhower to endorse Barack Obama, saying that this election is “not about fighting phantom issues churned out by a top-notch slander machine.  Most importantly it is not about distracting the public – you and me – with whatever slurs someone thinks will stick.”

Jack Waldvogel (Sun Oct 5):

Jack Waldvogel, GOP chairman for Emmet County, Michigan, is furious that McCain and Palin announced their intention to pull out of Michigan, saying “Just don’t formally announce that you are ‘pulling out’ of Michigan, and then come back two days later asking the base core of support to ‘keep working.’ What a slap in the face to all the thousands of people who have been energized by the addition of Sarah Palin to the ticket. I’ve been involved in County Party politics and organization for 40 years, and this is the biggest dumbass stunt I have ever seen.”

Wick Allison (Mon Sep 22):

Wick Allison, former publisher of the National Review and current editor-in-chief of D magazine, endorses Obama and writes “I made the maximum donation to John McCain during the primaries, when there was still hope he might come to his senses.  But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history.”

George Will (Sun Sep 21):

“I suppose the McCain campaign’s hope is that when there’s a big crisis, people will go for age and experience,” said Will. “The question is, who in this crisis looked more presidential, calm and un-flustered? It wasn’t John McCain who, as usual, substituting vehemence for coherence, said ‘let’s fire somebody.’ And picked one of the most experienced and conservative people in the administration, Chris Cox, and for no apparent reason… It was un-presidential behavior by a presidential candidate.”

WSJ Editorial Board (Fri Sep 19):

In a crisis, voters want steady, calm leadership, not easy, misleading answers that will do nothing to help. Mr. McCain is sounding like a candidate searching for a political foil rather than a genuine solution. He’ll never beat Mr. Obama by running as an angry populist like Al Gore, circa 2000.

Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy (Wed Sep 3):

Noonan and Murphy get caught on an open mic griping about the choice of Sarah Palin.  Noonan says “The most qualified? No. I think they went for this, excuse me, political bullsh** about narratives. Every time the Republicans do that, because that’s not where they live and that’s not what they’re good at, they blow it.”  Murphy adds that the choice was “cynical” and “gimmicky.”