Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What Draper said

Robert Draper is blogging at GQ:
The Republicans who fawned over her superstar looks are now shocked—shocked!—to learn that her much-admired wardrobe has been purchased with RNC funds. I’ve heard from one well-placed source that McCain has snubbed her on one long bus ride aboard the Straight Talk Express, to the embarrassment of those sitting nearby. It has surely been implied to the governor that she should be eternally grateful to have been plucked from obscurity. And yet the high water mark of John McCain’s campaign for the presidency unquestionably began on September 3, when Palin gave her nomination speech—and ended precisely twelve days later, when McCain went off-script—I have that on the authority of the person who participated in the writing of said script—and told an audience that he still believed the fundamentals of the economy were strong.
In the whole debate over why McCain is losing (aside from the fact that it's a Dem year and Obama's campaign is superhuman) but one of the facts that seems to be simply given is that McCain was the strongest GOP candidate of the year. I don't think that's really the case. Given the evidence of the last 8 months, isn't it clear that McCain is simply a lousy candidate? No message discipline, no credible claims as a moderate anymore, no credibility on the economy, and the charisma of a glass of lukewarm water. Mitt Romney looks better (how exotic is a Mormon running against a guy who's last name is Obama?) and so does Mike Huckabee, frankly.

McCain won not by being anyone's favourite, but by being everyone's least-hated. As Canadian Liberals have learned, that doesn't always lead to success.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

McCain won because the Republicans used a crummy system for deciding their primary vote (a system that short-sighted Dems were jealous of at the time, and probably have forgotten about now).

Republicans assign their delegates winner-take-all per state. Democrats assign their delegates proportionally. That meant that Clinton and Obama fought for a lot longer than the Republican candidates had to, but it also means that McCain won a number of states where he just squeaked by Huckabee or Romney to win it. If the Republicans used proportional delegates their primaries would have gone on a lot longer, and both Mittens and the Huckster would have had a narrative at their backs that might have helped them overcome Mr. Inevitable.

McCain has no constituency. The only folks who were excited about a McCain run for the presidency were journalists and inside-the-Beltway prognosticators. And he threw those guys under the Straight Talk Express over the summer. (I know Palin is going to get marked down as the bad decision that sunk McCain's campaign, but personally I think it was when they declared war on the media to shore up their bonafides with the base.)