Wednesday, July 30, 2008

McCain is very much in it

This should by all rights be a Democratic equivalent of 1984 or 1988 for the Democrats -- a blow-out that would put McCain's name alongside Mondale and Dukakis in the collective American political memory.

Conventional wisdom has been that Sen. McCain would have to run a campaign of W-esque perfection in order even to be in the game at all. And yet, in spite of a campaign that has, to put it kindly, been less than perfect, Sen. McCain is very much in it. He has never trailed by much in any poll, and the most recent Gallup poll -- an outlier, to be sure -- put him in a narrow lead.

Perhaps the most interesting finding in the most recent Rasmussen tracking poll is that the number of undecided voters seems to be growing, and that 33% of those undecided voters are Democrats, while only 19% are Republicans.

This bodes well for McCain, since it indicates that the Republican base is more solidified in their determination to vote for him than might have been expected. Of course, McCain is only a Tom Ridge, a Mitt Romney, or a Joe Lieberman away from blowing that unity to smithereens, but for now it remains true that unless McCain sticks his finger in the collective eye of a major constituency of the conservative base, Republicans will be very united this fall against Barack Obama. This should prove true in Montana no less than anywhere else.

Many Republican conservatives may not find Sen. McCain to be their ideal potential President. But in 2008, he still looks like the only guy we had in the stable who ever had a chance at winning.

It is up to McCain to make his case to the swing independent voters and the Democrats who voted in droves for Hillary Clinton's (quickly invented) rural/working class populist message. Maybe it is time for Tim Pawlenty.


David said...

The conventional wisdom has never made sense to me. McCain possesses the sort of traits that normally spell victory: a long political history, an extraordinary military career, solid conservative credentials, a good relationship with the press. Even the traits that hurt him in the primary -- his willingness to reach across the aisle, his unconventional positions on certain issues -- may well help him in the general election.

My money is on Obama, but this has never looked remotely like a blowout to me (unless McCain blows up or gets sick).

Montana Headlines said...

I think you are right, on every count.

I think it was Victor Davis Hanson who wrote a few months back that the Republicans managed to nominate the one guy they had who could actually win, and the Democrats managed to nominate the one candidate who could actually lose in the fall.

Probably an exaggeration, but there is more than a little truth in it, with the fundamental reason being how starkly Obama's level of experience contrasts with McCain's.