Just as John McCain is stabilizing (some would say bottoming out) in national and early state polls, it appears that he may have raised less money this quarter than last, when he was essentially bankrupt. What is wrong with this man that he can't keep up with people like Ron Paul, who is a year older than him and light-years away from mainstream Republican philosophy, or Chris Dodd, who has yet to break 1 percent in any Democratic primary poll except in his own state of Connecticut, where the last public poll gave him 6 percent (for Dodd, I blame this on the bouffant, which is the wrong color and shape, although the texture is appropriately sticky -- a fly was recently trapped on its surface).
McCain is by many judgments smart, focused and hard-working, yet he can't seem to get himself to make those phone calls. Hell, if he's getting about 10 to 15 percent in national polls, that means someone out there still likes him, and presumably they are not all poor. But he's just too proud to beg, and probably not evil enough to fundraise/terrorize his way to a war chest like Rudy Giuliani or deluded enough to fundraise/borrow from himself like Mitt Romney.
McCain also has a touch more self-respect than John Kerry, who ostensibly borrowed against his own assets when desperate, but do we really think that Teresa Heinz's billion dollars didn't make a difference to the creditor? Then again maybe McCain did ask beer-heiress wife Cindy and she stared him out of the room with those ice blue eyes. She got him a job at her father's company 25 years ago, and isn't likely to bail him out again.
Even in a tough fundraising year for the GOP (I NEVER thought I'd say those words), there are ways to raise something, somehow, but that would involve having mastered late 20th century technology (the Google! the electronic mail! the World Wide Web! -- not a key strength of most septuagenarian Republicans).
Whatever the reason, shouldn't Republicans be a little worried about a presidential candidate who can't even manage his own campaign's finances? A four-term senator who spends money like a drunken sailor (his own words) when none is coming in?
So here he is, probably the most accomplished candidate in the GOP field, about to wither away, bewilderingly penniless but most likely heading for luxurious retirement.