Stick a fork in Senator McCain, folks. He's done. I began this campaign back in February by predicting that Obama would beat McCain 40 states to 10. It may be closer than that...slightly...but when all is said and done, I'm still predicting a landslide. And the Republican establishment will have nobody to blame but itself. McCain was a terrible candidate from the git-go who inspires nobody. Even now, less than a month out from the election, I have no idea what the raison d'être of his campaign is. As best I can tell, it's "I want to be president. And I'm not Barack Obama." Unfortunately for him (and for the country), that's not nearly enough.
All McCain has to offer is squishy, centrist palaver that fails to differentiate him much from either Bush or Obama. His main solutions to the economic disaster are merely lighter versions of Obama's socialism. He's never once made a solid public case for the fact that Democrats are knee deep in the current crisis, and that the disaster can be easily traced back to Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and Bill Clinton. Instead he's sat there dumbly while Democrats (who've held the Congress for the last two years) amazingly pin a meltdown on their watch to free market economics.
The fact is, McCain deserves to lose. He's not a conservative. He's really not even a Republican. For all the "maverick" talk, he's always been a moderate Democrat in Republican garb. For years he was the media's favorite Republican-bashing Republican, and he let it make him think that their favor would extend to a run against an actual Democrat. He was spectacularly wrong.
At root, the whole evening is summed up best by Andrew McCarthy, writing at National Review Online's "The Corner," and I think it also summarizes the whole campaign:
We have a disaster here — which is what you should expect when you delegate a non-conservative to make the conservative (nay, the American) case. We can parse it eight ways to Sunday, but I think the commentary is missing the big picture.This was way too important an election--and Obama was way too dangerous a potential president--to have left this in the hands of John McCain. I shudder to think at the price the country--and my family--will pay for this mistake.
Here's what Obama needed to do tonight: Convince the country that he was an utterly safe, conventional, centrist politician who may have leftward leanings but will do the right thing when the crunch comes.
Now, as the night went along, did you get the impression that Obama comes from the radical Left? Did you sense that he funded Leftist causes to the tune of tens of millions of dollars? Would you have guessed that he's pals with a guy who brags about bombing the Pentagon? Would you have guessed that he helped underwrite raging anti-Semites? Would you come away thinking, "Gee, he's proposing to transfer nearly a trillion dollars of wealth to third-world dictators through the UN"?
Nope. McCain didn't want to go there. So Obama comes off as just your average Center-Left politician. Gonna raise your taxes a little, gonna negotiate reasonably with America's enemies; gonna rely on our very talented federal courts to fight terrorists and solve most of America's problems; gonna legalize millions of hard-working illegal immigrants.
McCain? He comes off as Center-Right .. or maybe Center-Left ... but, either way, deeply respectful of Obama despite their policy quibbles.
Great. Memo to McCain Campaign: Someone is either a terrorist sympathizer or he isn't; someone is either disqualified as a terrorist sympathizer or he's qualified for public office. You helped portray Obama as a clealy qualified presidential candidate who would fight terrorists.
If that's what the public thinks, good luck trying to win this thing.