There has been some speculation and gossip spurred by Dan Nowicki’s report in the Arizona Republic that John McCain is shaking up his campaign staff:

Sen. John McCain is shaking up his campaign leadership team as the Arizona Republican readies for an all-out ground fight in his closely watched GOP primary battle against former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.

Campaign manager Shiree Verdone is moving to a 2010 “Republican Victory” fundraising operation. Mike Hellon, a former Arizona Republican Party chairman who had a part-time role as deputy campaign manager, will join her there.

Neither Verdone nor Hellon was fired, said Brian Rogers, McCain’s campaign spokesman, who confirmed the staff changes Friday in a statement to The Arizona Republic.

Gossip magnet The Politico has picked up the deck chair rearranging too, as have the cable cluckers. Thing is, if you know McCain, there is no real “shake up” since the core of his election organization, which has been around him a long time, is almost completely intact and in charge. As Nowicki noted further down in his article:

McCain’s strategy and decision-making brain trust of longtime advisers Rick Davis, Charlie Black, Mark Salter, Carla Eudy and Mark Buse remains intact.

So, the term “shake up” is pretty much hyperbole; McCain’s posse is quite intact. In fact, you almost have to wonder whether this “shakeup” is about some kind of money cost laundering – shifting expenses somehow – since these staffers are just joining the RNC AZ staff.

The above being said, McCain has been publicly revealing the inner tired old gluehorse he really is an awful lot lately. McCain has always been the supreme narcissist whose only concern at any given time or situation is limited to what he thinks helps John McCain. His willingness to wildly say anything, no matter how inconsistent or absurd, has really been on full display lately, most notably with his craven about face on immigration and the “dang fence” (which even had fellow Arizona Republican John Shaddegg laughing).

So, what is missing for Old Gluehorse McCain? Why is McCain’s hypocritical narcissism more glaring than usual? No John Weaver that is why; and Weaver’s absence is why I said above that McCain’s team is “almost completely intact”. John Weaver was the smarts of the outfit who made the “McCain the Trusted Maverick” gloss up out of whole cloth and had the good sense to keep the real McCain on a short leash and away from the hypocritical stupidity he is naturally prone to. For a really excellent look at how Weaver made the McCain the press fell in love with, take a look at this Texas Monthly article (simple registration may be required, but it is quite good).

The Old Gluehorse should have been put out to pasture long ago; it is just more obvious now without John Weaver.

[graphic by Neil Alderney]