Evidently McCain has yet to realize that it's much more important to create negative narratives of one's opponents. His campaign's been trying to hammer at literally any opening they can find, tactics in McCain's case being the major consideration instead of strategy. He does manage to drive the conversation by saying bold and often stupid/reckless things, but he doesn't seem interested in driving it anywhere in particular. It reminds me of this statement:
Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just do things. The mob has plans, the cops have plans, Gordon's got plans. You know, they're schemers.
This is, of course, The Joker speaking to Two-Face from The Dark Knight. But it points to something serious: John McCain simply lacks a vision of what his campaign is supposed to accomplish, aside from winning. That is always a goal of a campaign, but it shouldn't be the only one. One could, additionally, push a policy agenda, call for a different kind of politics, to promote procedural reforms--in essence, to advance a vision for America's future. John McCain has not done this because he doesn't have a new vision for the future, as is evidenced by his unbelievable flip-floppery. I'm not even sure what's driving this old codger at this point--it's not any deep embrace of conservative principles, since he's flung them overboard this past week. It's not a reform agenda, since his is largely toothless. What's he doing?
The answer, by elimination, simply has to be that John McCain is simply chasing power, and without even the veneer of change that Bill Clinton, to use a related example, adopted during his run. The brazenness of McCain's race to the bottom of the barrel has been stunning, and I can't recall another potential leader basically breaking any principle once held to in order to gain some momentary advantage. Not even John Kerry comes close...his supposed flips pale in (heh heh) comparison to some of John McCain's recent flops. For it before voting against it is nothing compared to this. People voted against Kerry based largely on that quote, but it's peanuts compared to voting against your own immigration bill (then saying you support it again), changing your fundamental economic philosophy, reversing yourself on experience being the primary criterion for leadership, etc.
It's all connected. It's all about tactics with no real strategy behind them. Plus, the honor is entirely absent from all this. For someone who touts military service so highly, McCain doesn't make much of a soldier. See also Steve Benen.