The problem for John McCain is, basically, that he’s turning into Bob Dole. Now, the American people kind of like Bob Dole — heck, I kind of like him — but they don’t want him to be president.
The weird pauses and awkward grinning and the grumpy-old-manism are just the beginning. The real problem is that like Dole in ’96 he’s been willing to give up so much of what he actually believes, the things that make him him, to satisfy the Republican base. What’s more, he seems to be buying into the Republican groupthink that these ideas (more war! more tax cuts for the rich! torture!) are what people really want. It’s a different set of ideas, other than the brain-dead supply-sidism, but they’re not ideas anyone outside the Republican dead-enders is interested in.