Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Beginning of the End? Here's Hoping.

It has been fascinating to observe the McCain campaign royally self-destruct over the course of the past couple weeks. At the end of yesterday's double wammy of bailout bill defeat and stock market plummet, the Arizona senator gave a defeated, weary two minute press statement yesterday and then trudged off stage, knowing that the end of the day couldn't come soon enough. One wonders where McCain has to go. Straight-jacketed by a lethal combination of bad decision making and risky gambles, not to mention Vice-Presidential candidate who has looked more like a liability than an asset in the same period of time.

Obama, to his credit, has run a disciplined, controlled campaign and has avoided making major gaffes. His campaign has stumbled a bit, but his major missteps happened relatively early on in the race. When compared to the controversy-a-day nature of the Clinton campaign or the dramatic and desperate risks taken by Team McCain, Obama has had few problems of his own creation. In addition, he's obviously worked hard at debate preparation, as evidenced by Friday's performance which was his strongest ever. Right now, Obama really doesn't have to do much except watch his opponent's campaign self-destruct.

What has been clear to me is that the Republican party assumed that it would be running against Hillary Clinton. The GOP had been preparing for years how to run against the former First Lady. When Obama pulled a shocking upset, McCain and the rest of his party found themselves without much of a strategy. That it took a gimmicky move like putting Sarah Palin on the ticket for the campaign to achieve its only lasting, albeit short-lived lead thus far in the general election campaign is even more evidence of bad strategy. Yes, a McCain victory was a tall order owing to the fact that President Bush's approval rating is extremely low and the electorate is thoroughly sick of Republican leadership. It might still transpire. Much can happen in a month's time.

Candidates before have overcome substantial odds and either successfully closed the gap or come back from behind to win. In 1948, Harry Truman's non-stop barnstorming and whistle-stop campaigning turned what was thought of as an almost sure defeat into a narrow victory. Truman still trailed Dewey significantly in October, but in a month's time closed the gap and overtook his Republican challenger. In 1976, Gerald Ford trailed Jimmy Carter by upwards of thirty points in the summer, but benefitted from significant Carter mistakes to narrow the race considerably. Ford even managed to shrug off a poor showing in the second debate to lose barely on Election Day.

With a little more than a month to go, anything can happen, but if Team McCain hopes to win, they're going to have to turn things around and catch a break in the process.


Westcoast Walker said...

I think that the Neocons are going to play the fear card in the coming month. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if there was suddenly another "terror alert" in the coming month so McCain can appeal to people's base fears and espouse his ability to fight this, and take people's minds of economic issues.

Comrade Kevin said...

I wouldn't doubt anything from them at this point.

Anonymous said...

Wow, CK, that's a great point. They were so flummoxed to be running against someone who isn't Hillary that the whole RNC team is left in the lurch and lurching.

Utah Savage said...

Great Post!!!! Comrade I'd link arms with you anytime to march on Washington.

Diane Dacruz-DiDonato said...

I would like to invite you and your readers to participate in my “Democracy Experiment:”

5 years have passed since the beginning of the Iraq war, 7 years have passed since the beginning of the Afghanistan war, we have recently witnessed the foothills of failings in our financial institutions, it has been 7 years since 9/11, we have lost 4,168 brave soldiers to war, and an additional 30,634 have been wounded in battle.

I would like to commemorate the passing of these events with an act of Democracy.

You will find my on-line open letter to government letter at:
This version is complete with photos and a table of contents that will allow you to click back and forth between sections of the letter. If you plan to skim the letter, it is easier to do so through the blog.

OR you can send me an e-mail and I will send you the PDF attachment so that you may forward or download it.