It is probably a bit pre-mature, but the presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain might as well be over. I have been contemplating writing this post for the last two weeks, but haven’t been convinced. Well, today I am. We are 11 days out of the election, less than two weeks and Barack’s lead is anywhere between 3 points and 11 points nationally, he is safely winning all the states that Kerry won in ’04, is comfortably ahead in a few states that Bush won in ’04, and is within the margin of error (+/-) in many states that have gone GOP in the past few elections. There is not one state that Kerry won, even those considered “swing” states, that McCain has a chance to win. Don’t believe me? Let’s review two “blue swing states”: Minnesota: O=56%, M=41% – 15 point lead and Pennsylvania: O= 51%, M= 41% – 10 point lead. Ouch!
Every “swing-state” is a state that went Red in ’04 and some should be solidly red. McCain is struggling mightily in Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri, Nevada, and Colorado. Even in states like North Dakota and Montana there has been talk of Barack making a push. Are you kidding? McCain is entirely playing defense and no offense. This is not a winning strategy, in order to win the election he will pretty well have to win each of these states; at most he could lose one of them and perhaps still pull out the win. That is not going to happen.
So why is it so bad? Well, the first reason is the economy. People blame the Bush administration and by default McCain. They shouldn’t (solely) blame either. Blame falls on everyone, but especially congressional democrats who refused to address the mortgage issue when GOP congressmen were warning of an inevitable collapse. But Democrats disagreed and said the system was good because it was getting poor people into home ownership. Well we have seen how well that worked out. But McCain has failed to get that message out, he has failed to spread the word that he called for an investigation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac 2 years ago. Sure much of this is the media’s fault as they refuse to seriously cover any news that may harm Obama (just look at how they have ignored the Ayers story, if that were reversed and McCain were the culprit, McCain would have been crucified). But it is also McCain’s fault. He has been awful getting information out and going on the attack. I know he doesn’t prefer that kind of politics, but it is necessary for important issues. Sarah Palin has been effective, but what can a veep do?
The other reason that McCain is losing so bad is that he is a terrible, terrible candidate. What were the GOP thinking nominating this guy. I still don’t know anyone who actually wants HIM to be President. Most people are voting for him because they don’t want Obama or because they like Palin. McCain is a terrible speaker, has no energy, doesn’t have much a platform and no message, and isn’t terribly intelligence (I am not saying he is dumb, but he is no smarter than the average American). If the GOP had nominated Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani we would probably winning or tied with Obama. The only serious GOP candidate that would have been a bigger disaster is Mike Huckabee.
A friend of mine made a great point the other day, as he has paid attention to the campaign he hears Obama speak and notices that Obama has a message. It may not be a message of much substance, but he has a message and sticks to it. That is change and hope and when he discusses his specific policy ideas he ties them all into change and hope. When he hears McCain there is no message. McCain is all over the map. Thus, there is nothing memorable about McCain, there is not one thing where people can think of McCain and think of him as President. His advisors have not handled him well. Both Karl Rove and James Carville admitted that in their elections as advisors to Bush and Clinton respectively, one of their most important responsibilities were to keep the candidate on message. Remember people don’t care about policy and specific ideas they care about what ever candidate makes them feel good, moves them, and builds trust. That’s largely it. McCain hasn’t done it in the least.
The silver lining to all of this for me is that I can’t stand either candidate. I am voting for McCain, but while holding my nose. On Tuesday night, November 4th, when CNN announces that they project Barack Obama as the next President of the United States at 9:42 pm EST (before the polls even close in the West), I will shrug my shoulders, go back to watching “Scrubs” and begin fasting and praying that the American people, and especially GOP voters, will be smart enough to nominate Mitt Romney in 2012. I still can’t believe that the GOP was stupid enough nominate McCain over Romney, amazing.