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Wag the (Video) Blog: Can McCain Win?

Consider the following:

• Polling nationally and in key battleground states shows John McCain falling further behind Barack Obama.

Obama is outspending McCain at a rate of three to one on television -- an advantage that many political observers expect to grow not shrink between now and Nov. 4.

• The Dow Jones Industrial Average continues its roller-coaster ride amid lingering signs of an economic crisis and polling that shows voters overwhelmingly blaming Republicans for the current state of affairs.

One more presidential debate -- on Oct. 15 at Hofstra University -- remains on the schedule before election day.

All of those signs point to trouble for McCain who must -- we repeat MUST -- find a way to change the narrative arc of the campaign soon if he wants to win the White House.

For today's Wag the Blog question, we want to hear your thoughts on whether McCain can come back between now and Nov. 4 and, if so, how specifically he can and should do it.

You can offer your thoughts -- as usual -- in the comments section below OR, thanks to the good people at seesmic.com, you can offer a video comment above.

We'll pluck the best (read: most reasoned and insightful) and feature them in their own post later this week.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 9, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Political Take: Breaking Down the Nashville Debate
Next: The Problems With the Ayers Attack

Comments

Definitions of Socialism on the Web:

An economic system in which the basic means of production are primarily owned and controlled collectively by the government under some system or An "economic, social and political doctrine which expresses the struggle for the equal distribution of wealth by eventually eliminating private property and the exploitative ruling class . Hey, Obama voters are you listening ? Or are you blind folded and walking the plank ! Democrat not voting for Obama.
Best wishes,

Democrat from Michigan

Posted by: dhagan1 | October 15, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

If we move in mass, be it ever so circuitously, we shall attain our object; but if we break into squads, everyone pursuing the path he thinks most direct, we become an easy conquest to those who can now barely hold us in check.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Duane, 1811

In the wild west terms, this was called circling the wagons. Now is the time for us, the people, to FORCE the candidates to talk about those issues which concern us most and that is the economy. Do not let us be strayed from this point as this is exactly John McCain's plan to win --- divide and conquer. Let us stand strong for a new America.

Posted by: gtnaustin | October 10, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Help! Can someone tell me if Ms Palin's
church allows the consumption of alchohol?
If not, what is her Joe 6-pack connection?

Posted by: 85thstposter | October 10, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

.

.


The Solution to the Economic Crisis is NOT to place a former cocaine user like Obama in charge of the World's Largest Economy.


Are you completely insane?


Voted One Of The Nation's Top 5 Political Blogs For The Election Of 2008:


http://www.myspace.com/37thandostreet


Bookmark It Now !!!!

.

.
.

.


The Solution to the Economic Crisis is NOT to place a former cocaine user in charge of the World's Largest Economy.


Are you completely insane?


Voted One Of The Nation's Top 5 Political Blogs For The Election Of 2008:


http://www.myspace.com/37thandostreet


Bookmark It Now !!!!

.

.

Posted by: 37thandOStreet | October 10, 2008 5:26 AM | Report abuse

The McCain has never had a long term strategy, therefore they haven't really laid the groundwork necessary to make a major move at this late date. They are good at short term tactics, diverting attention for a few days, but over time these diversions become less and less effective.

I really don't see any way for McCain to reverse things now.

Posted by: Groundhogday1 | October 9, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

McCain last week interrupted his Campaign. It is indecent time for presidential elections. Hope he will now withdraw his candidacy. Let VP Cheney resign also and let them have the Democrats - the House speaker, Pelosi, as interim president or any other Dem entitled by the Constitution - and the financial mess and the recession and Iraq and Afghanistan and Iran and the Bailout and the Dow under 9000 and oil under $80 the gallon and and it all. That's collective psychotherapy by flooding. One session will suffice for 266 million Americans and for one generation to return to sanity.

Posted by: rivenq | October 9, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

No, McCain can’t come back—honor once abandoned does not easily return—but with almost a month left in the campaign he certainly could still win.

As the primaries were winding down I was satisfied with Clinton, Obama, and McCain as the finalists, feeling any of the three would make a decent President. After the nominees clinched, I favored Obama but was entirely willing to let McCain change my mind…and I’m very disappointed that he never even tried. His campaign’s switch from issues to personal attacks (starting with the completely-lacking-in-substance ‘Paris Hilton ad’) finalized my Obama vote. Subsequent events, including the crazed rage McCain & Palin are driving members of audiences to this week, have proven my decision correct.

While I’m not under the illusion that my personal decision means the race is over, I hope the McCain campaign’s scurrilous attacks will be counter-productive—driving the worst elements of the Republican base to a frenzy but alienating Independents like me. With a thinking electorate, I’m optimistic the Obama/Biden substance and focus on issues will, in the end, prevail over a now issue-free McCain/Palin campaign based almost entirely on personal insult and emotional populism.

But…it won’t be a disaster for America if either Obama or McCain wins (partly because, despite the best efforts of Dick Cheney, the actual power of the Presidency is more limited than most people realize).

— I believe that when John McCain no longer has to pander to the base, his (still pretty good) gut instinct could take over, meaning some who vote for him might be very surprised by his actions in office (on immigration; campaign finance; the environment (including carbon offsets); Guantanamo, torture and civil liberties; and especially by how well he might be able to work with what is going to be an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress). I favor his position on free trade over Obama’s. I think I very well might have voted for the John McCain of 2000 and if he’s elected, I have some hope that’s what we’ll get.

— On the other hand, I settled on Barack Obama because I viewed him as having a higher potential of real greatness than anyone else in the race. His ability to answer in other than sound bites is what first started me paying attention. I appreciate his ability to organize his thoughts and write, with coherence, subtlety, and style, his own books. I think he’s demonstrated a rational pragmatism that is a fundamental prerequisite to a successful Presidency. Let’s add to that something Charles Krauthammer (certainly no liberal) said of Obama recently: “…he's got both a first-class intellect and a first-class temperament.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/02/AR2008100203043.html)

And finally, my take on the ‘Change’ argument. Over the last half century our national political system has grown so distorted that it’s become nearly impossible for the people we’d most want to be President, to make it through either Party's nominating process. Barack Obama’s unprecedented path to the nomination combined with his unique worldview mean he will be very different from any President of the last several decades. I think something very different is necessary.

Posted by: malis | October 9, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

There's nearly a month to go before the election, so it's inappropriate to ask who will win at this stage.

To win, McCain must do two things: grow a credible economic policy and ask pertinent questions about Obama's fitness to govern.

This isn't impossible, or even difficult. At the moment, however, McCain seems to be concentrating on some scattershot attacks on Obama, which aren't going down well with the independent voters he needs to win over.

So if I were McCain's campaign manager I'd counsel him to get some really credible economic thinkers in to draw up a game plan for the interregnum and the first 100 days in executive office, during which the economy is to be kicked into reasonable shape.

I'd ask McCain's allies to ditch the Ayers stuff. Everybody's got the message by now. Ayers isn't Willie Horton.

Posted by: TonySidaway | October 9, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

It is nothing short of racism to denigrate the accomplishments of Barack Obama by claiming he got where he got through racial preference. No doubt, the commentary comes from people who never have even seen Harvard, much less competed to chair the Harvard law review. Those who choose to do so are nothing short of unamerican. That's what it comes down to for Republicans. Nothing but a bunch of racist losers.

While you're denigrating Obama, you might ask yourself how a self-described lackluster high school student managed to be accepted to the US Naval Academy. You might also ask yourself how a Naval cadet who graduated fifth from the bottom of his class was chosen for a coveted slot as a Naval aviator out of the academy. John McCain is the same kind of loser as George W. Bush, who never accomplished a thing in his life without the help of his father or his father's friends. Without their parental connections, these two dimwits would would have careers which peaked when they made manager of the midnight shift at Denny's. They have no business running this country.

Posted by: jheath53 | October 9, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

No, John McCain can't win - legally. By 9:00 AM Alaska time on Friday, October 10th, it might already be over for McCain, if Steve Branchflower has written a good report. But I don't think McCain will go down easily, especially with Diebold and the First Brigade of the Third Infantry Division on his side. And already we're seeing that the bailout funds are proving not to be enough to satisfy the needs of Wall Street. So I agree with the folks who say get ready for the next Civil War.

Posted by: annieb346 | October 9, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

http://www.jibjab.com/view/137226

Posted by: gopbluto | October 9, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse


.


.

The Solution to the Economic Crisis is NOT to place a former cocaine user in charge of thw World's Largest Economy.


Are you completely insane?

Voted One Of The Nation's Top 5 Political Blogs For The Election Of 2008:

http://www.myspace.com/37thandostreet

Bookmark It Now !!!!

.


.


Posted by: 37thandOStreet | October 9, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey! John!"It's the economy, stupid!"

Posted by: trcf | October 9, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I don't think McCain has any ability to affect the outcome of the race at this point on his own power. The only way I can imagine him making a comeback is if something absolutely earth-shattering happens to make the economic crisis seem like small potatoes, and even then, I doubt he would have the political sense of how to use that to his advantage. He's too impulsive. I suspect he would take a very strong stand that would look good at first blush but wouldn't stand to scrutiny.

Posted by: carlitalh | October 9, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

There is time left, slightly less than a month is an eternity is politics. Do I think that McCain will pull it off? No, I don't. But if I was McCain, this is what I would do.

First, let's admit what is wrong with this campaign. It is completely driven to dominate the news cycle, as one Obama adviser put, it is a war room disguised as a national campaign. Why is this a problem? Because the tactics (or is it strategy? ;)) being employed are meant to win an election a lot closer than this election. It is also meant to work in an environment where this isn't a transcendental domestic crisis. Neither of those are true, and all the discussion of Ayers in the world won't change that.

Second, I would quietly devise a major economic policy. I don't know what it exactly should be (above my pay grade), but I know the broad contours it has to have. (1) It has to pass the editorial board test. It can't be like this recent McCain home loan plan that was attacked by even the national review. The plan doesn't have to convince every wonk, but on first glance editorial boards have to take it as a serious proposal. (2) It has to be bold. Bold without being stunt like. This doesn't mean that any part of the proposal will be bold, but it must have that level of gravitas. (3) Economic populism. Bigger tax cuts for the middle class, etc. McCain has so far refused to engage in serious economic populism, that's not a winner in this economy.

Third, rollout. We have one debate left, this should be presented, in broad outline, at the debate. And when Obama refuses to specifically deal with this proposal, McCain needs to have a strong moment where he denounces Obama for glibly repeating his stump speech and talking points from other debates. For being fundamentally unserious to engage in specifics without his staff there to tell him what polls best. I'm sure Brett O'Donnell knows how to pull this off, and McCain needs that youtube and news clip moment. The day after McCain needs to hold a major press conference going into his plan in detail. He needs to experience the crisis of the middle-class, and show a determined leadership to beat it. After that a major swing state tour with some fun name his proposal that he takes on the road.

He needs to control the narrative, he needs to put the Obama campaign on the defensive, and he needs a moment of making himself seem more presidential and ready to go on the economy than Obama. The last is the most key. It's not just about putting Obama on the defensive, or controlling the narrative, it has to be points that will win over middle class voters.

Posted by: thescuspeaks | October 9, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

37th & O is still here huh? Well since the Law Review is a new talking point from good ole O, I will address it alone, as I grow tired of repeating myself on the rehashes (and really...have we not ALL grown tired of rehashes, and having to repeat ourselves to confront them?).

I was actually curious about this one, so I poked around a bit. True that he did not publish a paper while heading the review, so O....you are right! Savor the flavor my friend. However, now that we have addressed your talking point, for those who would like to expand upon it, and understand Obama's time at the review a little better, this is a fine link to start...

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0608/11257.html

Actually made me feel a little better about him. So thanks O!

Charlie
aka: 37th & G...the better looking one.

Posted by: CharlesWGray | October 9, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse


.


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A great deal has been said of Obama as head of the Harvard Law Review - however the evidence is that he was voted into that position because the people thought it would be "cool" to have a black in there, not because he was more qualified than the other students.


Having said that, Obama NEVER wrote for the Harvard Law Review.


There is NOT ONE ARTICLE WRITTEN BY OBAMA IN THE HARVARD LAW REVIEW.

There is a pattern of Obama getting positions or jobs through affirmative action and then NOT doing those jobs.


1) First, he took a position in the class at Harvard Law School (from a white student) however Obama NEVER became a lawyer,


2) Obama became head of the Harvard Law Review, however Obama NEVER wrote a law review article.


3) Obama became a State Senator however Obama RARELY voted yes or not, voting present many many times - Emil Jones placed Obama's name on numerous bills which were Emil's work, and Obama took credit for Emil's work because someone decided that Obama was going to be pushed forward.


4) Obama was selected to be the Chairman of the SubCommittee to review NATO's role in Afghanistan however Obama NEVER held any hearings of this SubCommittee.


5) Obama was elected to the US Senator, however instead of doing his job as a Senator Obama went on a book tour and started a campaign for President - HOW MUCH TIME HAS HE REALLY SPENT ACTUALLY BEING A SENATOR ???


Sorry However NONE OF THIS IS IMPRESSIVE. In fact, it is rather sad.

.

.

Posted by: 37thandOStreet | October 9, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Doubtful McCain can pull it off. The economic mess is focusing voters on the past eight years of the Administration. Obviously, both it, and the Republican majority were seriously "asleep at the switch". I like McCain, but he's too tied to the Bush Administration, and his "maverick" stance doesn't quite come off. He's going to be dealing with a Democratic majority if he wins, remember?

My sense is that both candidates are less-than-inspiring, but voters (especially INDEPENDENT voters like me) want a change, and that change favors the Democrats.

Posted by: finishingres | October 9, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

The McCain campaign needs to figure out a way to portray the Ayers/Dohrn connection as something more than it is being seen now. This isn't about palling around with someone.
This is about how much influence Dohrn and Ayers had of Obama's development as a political animal. Bernadine Dohrn was working at Sidley Austin at the same time as Michelle Obama. William Ayers was in NY at graduate school while Obama was at Columbia.
Dohrn and Ayers are not only unrepentant but still determined to overthrow empire, capitalism and white supremacy. They addressed the reunion of the SDS last November. Available on YouTube. Obama 's community organizing involved training workers for ACORN not only for voter registration (riddled with fraud charges)but pressuring banks to lend money to low income people at high risk of default. The seeds of the present economic crisis. Obama and Ayers distributed money to Acorn through the Annenberg Challange. Later Obama hired Acorn workers for his campaign and served as their lawyer.
This actually goes on and on but the media seems unwilling to investigate. Why do we know so very little about Obama's years at Columbia and even Harvard?
I am a lifelong Democrat and am holding my breath until Bush is gone but can not support Obama until some questions are answered by Obama himself. Ayes and Dohrn emerged from the underground determined to overthrow the government from within. The media giving Obama a pass on this is hard to understand.McCain should not have to be bringing this up, the press should have been asking these questions all along.

Posted by: missbehaved | October 9, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Why sure! He will steal it with the help of Voter suppression and Diebold. Stock up for the next American Civil War folks!

Posted by: SchmaltzyTheGolem | October 9, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

hclark1 wrote:
"Democrats for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008"

Oops I think some of your post got cut out, that maybe should have read

Racist Democrats, and Republicans pretending to be Democrats for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008....and also the last dozen Women still sore over Hillary.

Yup, that about covers it.

Posted by: CharlesWGray | October 9, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Democrats for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008

Posted by: hclark1 | October 9, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

"America has such large natural resources and smart Americans, it would be almost impossible for America to be in a depression"

even after all this time, i am astonished at the stupidity of republicans. breathtaking.

Posted by: drindl | October 9, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, of course Palin is a terrorist. Didn't you know?

She terrifies any sane person. and here's what cnservative David Brooks says:


"Speaking at an Atlantic luncheon Monday, New York Times columnist David Brooks said Gov. Sarah Palin "represents a fatal cancer to the Republican party" because of her tendency to "scorn ideas entirely," comparing her to President Bush:

[Sarah Palin] represents a fatal cancer to the Republican party. . … Reagan had an immense faith in the power of ideas. But there has been a counter, more populist tradition, which is not only to scorn liberal ideas but to scorn ideas entirely. And I'm afraid that Sarah Palin has those prejudices. I think President Bush has those prejudices."

PALIN A CANCER ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, SEZ A REPUBLICAN.

Posted by: drindl | October 9, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

The Ayers (non)-connection is dubious at best- it is like playing the "six degrees of separation" game (i.e. one can connect anyone to anything if you try hard enough).

How about the dubious links to the McCain-Palin campaign:

-Palin's own husband is an active member of a radical treasonous secessionist group for which Palin recorded a greeting as recent as last year
-McCain has served on boards with people who have direct ties to white supremacy groups, virulently anti-semetic groups, anti-Muslim groups
-McCain has previously accepted the endorsement of and appeared with Pastor Hagee who praised Hitler as being sent by God to punish Jews
-McCain, as we all know, was one of the prime members of the "Keating Five" who were involved with the dubious bank and corporate finance bailouts of the late 1980s.

Where have these facts gone?? McCain and Palin are treading on a slippery slope if they want to play the guilt-by-association game... Perhaps it is time for the Obama campaign to really "take the gloves off" after all, before McCain succeeds in pulling a Willie Horton or swift-boat style fear & smear hijacking of this election.

By even reporting on this, you have extended the life of this pathetic desperation play. Equal time to the dubious claims of both sides, or stick with the issues, I say.

Peace,

John Olsen
Abington, PA

Posted by: peacemover | October 9, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Obama will make the best President the USA has ever had... What would it say about the American people if McCain was somehow voted in? America is the only country that is capable of bringing peace and prosperity to the whole world- with the right person leading it. Yes, Obama will have a tough job and he will have great difficulties carrying out many of his policies. What the deuce does McCain stand for- more of the same, stagnation, utter chaos, destruction?

Posted by: martinkostyrka | October 9, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

No.

The harder McCain works to "change the game" the more he looks like a reckless fighter pilot.

Posted by: caribis | October 9, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"...my fellow prisoners"

McCaint Rally Wednesday in Pennsylvania...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYFm5kK4f1k&NR=1

I think his VP "nurse" gave him too many of Cindy's perscription meds.....

Posted by: AlexP1 | October 9, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

SEN. MCCAIN WILL OBVIOUSLY WIN!!!!

* Sen. McCain and his supporters need to continually slap voters in the face with the fact that Carter Adm., Clinton Adm., Dem. Pty., Sen. Obama, Barney Franks, and Sen. Chris Dodd helped create the economic problems because they enable unqualified people to acquire home loans.

* FOX NEWS should continue to expose Democrats involvement in current economic problems.

* I also think Sen. McCain $300 Billion bailout proposal of home owners is probably working (Judging from most recent polls). I wish Sen. McCain, when he becomes president, deduct at least 1/2 of this $300 billion from the $700 billion approved by congress.

BTW, I agree with Mr. Lu Dobs who said that our economy is not heading into a depression. America has such large natural resources and smart Americans, it would be almost impossible for America to be in a depression. I think Obama supporters are talking down the economy BTW.

Posted by: lazerboy | October 9, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Of course he can win. Sarah Palin is the Messiah and these are the End Times. Don't you know anything?

Posted by: drindl | October 9, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Assuming no other "October Surprises", McCain's only shot is to once more throw the Hail Mary. It's worked twice before.

That Hail Mary includes:

1. Replacing Palin with Romney. Most Independents & Moderates think she's incompetent. Romney was the most economically knowledgeable primary candidate from either party.

2. Announcing & publicizing a team of outstanding economic advisors, then detailing their collective plan to get us out of this mess. He needs a Ross Perot kind of moment, where he stands up and shows us what is wrong and what his Presidency, specifically, will do to correct it.

3. Regain his honor & respect in the eyes of the public & the media by ceasing the smear & lie campaigns. He needs to admit that those campaign acts were misleading and dishonorable and speak directly to us tell us that he is not that kind of person, that he erred, and he is now focused on portraying his positive vision for the US.

Running a Karl Rove campaign worked to a point, but doubling down on the Rove strategy now is not going to cut through this huge economic mess.

Posted by: sw7104 | October 9, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

""Obama's favor. He has proven that he keeps his cool under pressure, "

you are confusing that dazed and vacant look with kool. doing nothing and voting present is the default position of the NEW CARTER. his answer to every problem - raise taxes and spend like there's no tomorrow. well, tomorrow came last week and Obama never figured it out.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | October 9, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

If McCain wants to win, he needs to stop playing into Obama's hands and trying to change the electoral college map. Obama has the money and political winds at his back, so he has the (relative) luxury of trying to win in states that are typically red at the federal level such as North Carolina or Indiana as well as campaign in swing states like Ohio and Iowa. The problem with McCain pulling staff out of Michigan was that the narrative became, "He's losing," and not a reorganization of resources.

McCain should stop trying to pick off an electoral vote in Maine or even New Hampshire and pour what he has left into Ohio and Florida. He should find the way to embrace the "compassionate" and shun the "conservative" to distance himself from Bush as much as possible.

Other than that, he needs some external event to occur: a foreign policy emergency, a major Obama blunder, or a major economic recovery so that he can come out of his defensive position.

-Chris L.

Posted by: MScholarC04 | October 9, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Never say never, but McCain has a terrible image, a terrible running mate and outside forces (economy, GOP culpability) all working against him. Coupled with his tone deaf management of media relations and his relative lack of funding, the guy's toast. Of course, to paraphrase a line from that Vulcan chessmaster Mr. Spock, McCain's "Been dead before." The guy is tenacious-his political obit was written in Esquire magazine less than a year ago. But at this point, I'd say his odds are only about 30% for turning this thing around.

Posted by: soonerthought | October 9, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

pink is the new black.

""You forgot the usual Jimmy Carter smears.

Posted by: bondjedi | ""

Obama is the new Carter.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | October 9, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

drindl, have you had your rabies shot yet today?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | October 9, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I want to echo a comment by easysoul about being on the lookout for either a large military action or a “terrorist” attack this month … the “October Surprise” as someone close to me calls it. I am extremely nervous that this is the only way McCain can pull this off … and that is only if Bush doesn’t abuse his elective office AGAIN, break the law AGAIN, with a new low, by suspending elections. I found the comment by CNN's James Carville after the debate very very telling and something we ALL need to remember - he said, and I paraphrase, “If McCain goes into election day down by the 5 points he is at now and still wins this election … look out…”, again a paraphrase but I think an important point not to be overlooked.

Posted by: katsthink | October 9, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

By the way, Virginia drew a +8 for Obama. That puts him at 277 for non-tossup states (McCain has 163)

Posted by: DDAWD | October 9, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Can McCain win?

Well, er, NO.

Posted by: wardropper | October 9, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"A better question is why is the country willing to elect someone they know almost nothing about. some one who hides their past associations. someone who lies about their record. someone involved with vote stealing and illegal fundraising."

Well, every day that people get to know more about her, the less they are willing to vote for her.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 9, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

zouk is the bottom of the PT Barnum barrell. don't kid yourself.

Posted by: drindl | October 9, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Sure McCain can win. This country elected the incompetent moron bush twice, didn't they? And Palin is a complete clone of him, as is Uncle Fester. Half of this country would elect a tapeworm if Sean Hannity called it 'conservative.'

This is the land of PT Barnum, after all.

Posted by: drindl | October 9, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"A better question is why is the country willing to elect someone they know almost nothing about. some one who hides their past associations. someone who lies about their record. someone involved with vote stealing and illegal fundraising."

No. Chris's is the better question.

You would have to have your head buried in the sand to honestly profess to know "nothing" about Obama, and the ignorati of this country who key on his skin color aren't willing to vote for him anyways.

Obama hasn't hid any past associations. The wing nuts of this land think that McStupid's path to 270 goes through Bill Ayers' living room, which is garbage. There is a huge difference between hiding past associations and refusing to cop to a smear.

C'mon, Zouk. You're better than the rest of the Birchers, but you're losing your edge. You forgot the usual Jimmy Carter smears.

Posted by: bondjedi | October 9, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

ISN'T THE QUESTION BACKWARDS?

Racially charged smear campaign...

Electronic voting irregularities and impossibility of recounts in most precincts...

Voter disenfranchisement in swing states...

Extrajudicial "targeting" of political "dissidents" by powerful entities

Intimidation and co-opting of mainstream media...

Impending economic collapse possibly resulting in disruption of the political process, social tumult, federalization of law enforcement and constraints on civil liberties...


Perhaps your question should be: "Is there any way that OBAMA can win?"

See below:

ARE AGITATED 'CUDA CROWDS A HARBINGER OF THIS?

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/american-gestapo-state-supported-terrorism-targets-u-s-citizens

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 9, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Anybody who, after 20 months, continues to say "we just don't know anything about Obama" falls into one of ywo categories:

1) The intellectually lazy, who have either not been paying attention, or simply choose not to read or watch anything that has been on TV.

OR

2) The intellectually dishonest, who hope that the "he's not vetted" meme from primary season will still work.

Posted by: cam8 | October 9, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"A better question is why is the country willing to elect someone they know almost nothing about."

Sarah, is that you?

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 9, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Within the context of normal campaigning, it doesn't look like McCain can do anything that will drastically change the outcome in his favor. His moves thus far - selecting Gov Palin as running mate and 'suspending' his campaign to help forge a bailout in Washington - have come across as impulsive and ineffective. Voters are starting to see, by watching how McCain runs a campaign, how McCain would run the country as President. The problem he now faces is that new moves, such as new policy initiatives, look like desperate attempts to change the story. Its really a problem that he's created for himself, having never really come up with an effective message describing what a McCain presidency would look like - in the primaries he was forced to pander to the base and has continued that through the general election campaign. New tactics now just look like desperate ploys to 'change the game', but the voters aren't buying it anymore.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 9, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Someone here made the point that McCain is on electoral defense. I think that was the most telling statement about McCain's chances come November 4th.

A game-changer of any kind would have to shift the current electoral map massively. It would have to place McCain back in the driver's seat in FL, OH, and VA, solidify his position in MO, NC, and NV, and put at least 2 blue states (MI, WI, and PA would be the most likely candidates) back into play so that Obama is playing defense somewhere.

The game-changer has to come from Obama. It has to be something in his past that's so damaging that nobody can defend it. Obama's "Willie Horton", if you will.

Posted by: cam8 | October 9, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

At this point, I really don't think that McCain can win this election. McCain and Palin have focused so hard on trying to paint Barack Obama as a radical Muslim terrorist that the McCain camp is practically conceding every national issue to Obama. It is apparent that McCain has put all his eggs in the basket of ripping down Obama's character. This ruse will simply not ring true with voters, even those who are inclined to vote for McCain. At this point, even if McCain were to forego his desparate attacks on Obama, start really focusing on important national issues, and make a very aggressive appeal toward independent voters, he has wasted so much time in the last few weeks on personal attacks toward Obama that there's no real time left to restart his campaign. I think that John McCain did a fair job in the second debate. If he does a spectacular job in the third debate, he might be able to pull closer to Obama. But I still don't think he has enough time left to overtake Obama.

Posted by: sdecker | October 9, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

east soul opined:
watch out for "miltary action" or a huge terrorist alert from the current administration along or about 7 to 10 days prior to the election.

they will stop at nothing; this is surely coming.
------------------------

At this point, that too would only work in Obama's favor. He has proven that he keeps his cool under pressure, whereas McCain has proven that he freaks out. That's why Obama is ahead in polls concerning leadership/commander-in-chief.

Posted by: wpost4112 | October 9, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

A better question is why is the country willing to elect someone they know almost nothing about. some one who hides their past associations. someone who lies about their record. someone involved with vote stealing and illegal fundraising.

We are headed for all the corruption and scandel of the clintons with all the efficiency and fecklessness of the carter admin.

In short we have the cracker jack candidate. It seems good at first, but there is a surprise waiting after you have already bought it.

Next year some time, we will have another round of finger pointing, just like the housing debacle. It was the Dems who were asleep at the switch this time and it will be the press who shamefully embarasses themselves in the Obama case.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | October 9, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I think he needs to do a Ronald Reagan and go the actor route.

If you want to see what I mean, check out "Maverick McCain."

It's a short, funny video set to the opening theme of the former TV western "Maverick." I think even McCain's fans might be amused. Maybe not.

http://scootmandubious.blogspot.com/2008/09/maverick-mccain.html

Posted by: scootmandubious | October 9, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Yes, McCain/Palin can win if they continue their dirty assaults on Obama witout the Obama/Biden camp resorting to the same negative approach in stump speeches and, more important, campaign ads.
McCain and Palin are unfit for the offices they run for. But if their attempts in character assassination are not countered, they will prevail. For more on this, read:
http://www.reflectivepundit.com/reflectivepundit/2008/10/mccain-and-pali.html

Posted by: bn1123 | October 9, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Being a democrat, I am not one to take for granted the polling right now.
It's encouraging but, not ready to celebrate.
As for McCain, I use to like him.
The guy he use to be was an appealing candidate.
I find Palin off putting. she is the prototype of the Mean Girl.
Ambitious, uses and viciously throws people away, shallow and self serving and self absorbed.
Her act of being reg. folk is a ruse and obvious.
I lost respect for McCain with this choice, with having the Rovians in his campaign after what they did to him in 2000 and being willing to only lie and attack rather then talk solutions.
It's too late for him to change his negative image now. It's too late to be Straight Talk again.
That is what people wanted with McCain and were turned off by this new image.
3 weeks is just not enough time to become the old McCain again.

Posted by: vwcat | October 9, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Question: Over the past few months, trawling the Post, again and again we here the cry, desperate almost, Sophoclean one might say, unending one might think,"CAN JOHN MCAIN WIN?" - Apparently Obama does not merit the asking of this question which would explain his non-existence in most Op-Ed pieces. Why? Answer: Wake up people - the Post and the rest of the media are not conservative or liberal - selling papers and propping up ratings are of paramount importance. If you're looking to blog in order to make a point or flame someone - do your fingers a service and take up knitting, or perhaps origami. As with everything else, Americans have a pitifully short memory and this will all be over and forgotten soon enough. And perhaps John Mcain will win the Presidency... We won't even remember how we got there.

Posted by: zosui | October 9, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

No, the path to 270 is getting too narrow. This election is starting to look more like 2004 did at this point. It got to a situation where Kerry had to run the table on the states in play, which was not really plausible. I think that McCain is in the same boat now. The McCain team wasted time trying to expand the map when all along they should have been focusing on winning Bush's 2004 victories. Instead, they have put resources places where they cannot win allowing Obama to make some Ruby Reds competitive giving him many more options to get to 270.

I also think that the McCain message has not really resonated well with the American people. His strengths in the primary have not translated well to a national race. Especially in recent weeks where he has started to fall behind you can sense his real frustration. He is not getting to run the kind of campaign that he is comfortable with. I think that Schmidt and Co. have led him down a path where McCain cannot be McCain. He needed to be making a clearer case about being a maverick, what seems to have stuck is how he cozied up to the extreme Right. I think that it is too late to undo that and significantly change voters' perceptions in the next few weeks.

The presidential race is over, the real story is now whether President Obama will have a filibusterer-proof Senate to work with.

Posted by: rosenblj | October 9, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

McCain cannot win this election by any direct action.

Increasingly, the attempts to "change the game" by the McCain campaign are seen as desperate and transparently political moves, which undercut their candidates trustworthiness more than raising doubts about their opponent.

McCain needs to start running the respectable campaign he promised, and repair his own reputation. That alone will not be enough, but if outside events (luck) go his way, he would at least be more acceptable to the middle.

In a sense, it is similar to Clinton's late strategy. Stop the low blows, and be prepared to step in if fate comes knocking.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | October 9, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Chris,
It's hard to believe anyone thinks McCain can win when he's still campaigning in states like Iowa and Pennsylvania. If's he under the illusion he can win in places like those, or any state that voted for the Democratic nominee in '00 or '04 he's going to be in for a rude awakening on Election Day.
Maybe he can salvage a single swing-state victory by running negative ads now until Election Day (something he'll no doubt attempt). But, the field is far too broad for him to run the table on them. The more likely scenario is Sen. Obama runs the table on them, even moreso than the likelihood of Sen. McCain winning a single battleground state.
McCain could conceivably win Ohio. Okay. We'll use our resources to take North Carolina and Florida.
He may want to try and hold onto Floria. Fine. We'll take Indiana and Missouri too.
McCain needs new people on staff. I don't care how long they've been with him. If they seriously believe he's going to compete in Iowa or Pennsylvania, then he needs people around him who better understand the electoral map. I'm guessing we'll probably win both of states by at least 10 points.
The fact of the matter is he was never going to win any Democratic state: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Iowa. It was a waste of time and money for him to compete in those states. I'm not complaining though.
One other thing, a Rasmussen poll out today shows Franken up by four in his Senate race. I believe that is the third poll to show the race now in his favor. By my count that's eight Senate seats if the election were held today. And we've still got 26 days to go until the Election. I think that in the next few weeks you're going to see us pull ahead in Mississippi and possibly Kentucky to give us our Lieberman-proof working-majority. Either way we're going to get our 60 I believe.
Jefferson-Roosevelt-Obama
Jimmy Dunphy

Posted by: jdunph1 | October 9, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

McCain cannot hang his hopes of victory on the chance that outside events will trigger his comeback in the polls. He needs to change his strategy and resurrect his chances one more time. Here's how he should start:

1. A good defense is the best offense. This may sound silly when McCain is behind and losing ground. But the math really does favor him if you consider that he does not need to steal any blue states to win. He needs to pull his resources from all Kerry blue states and redeploy into Bush red states where he is struggling, like Virginia and Florida. He can't afford to chase Obama's money; he should let Obama come to him. Simply put, McCain needs to focus his limited resources to make the biggest impact.

2. Know your audience. It's a fundamental principle of rhetoric. To his base in these states, he needs to continue the negative narrative. Continue to emphasize Obama's ties to Ayers and Rezko. Continue to call Obama a tax-and-spend liberal. Send Palin to these districts and whip the base into a frothing madness. Talk about abortion, gun control, and big government. In independent or left-leaning districts, McCain needs to hit Obama on the issues, specifically the economy. To do this, McCain needs to come up with a more cogent, reasoned response to the current economic crisis, and deliver it in person in these districts (he's only been to Virginia once since securing the nomination). He also needs to cast Obama as the riskier economic choice.

3. Fudge the numbers. People want to vote for winner. The McCain campaign needs to challenge the poll numbers by referring to internal or external polls that show him gaining ground. Even if it means focusing on just one poll question, McCain needs to edge out some confidence from the voting public by making them think they already support him.

4. Leash the pitbull. The media won't like this approach, but Palin needs to remain inaccessable for interviews. As much as the anti-media meme plays for the base, media exposure of Palin does not help McCain's chances with independents. Palin should only be speaking in areas where McCain is already polling strong. Her ability to stir up support from diehard Republicans could bolster his showing in these areas.

Posted by: JohninMpls | October 9, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Yes, John McCain can still win the election, but it will be very difficult (not to mention very unlikely). First, he must--ABSOLUTELY MUST--hold onto Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. If he loses even one of those states, it's game over. If he does win those states, along with the solid red states he already has, it gives him 260 electoral votes. To get the last 10 he can do two things, and both include winning Colorado--so I suppose Colorado is a must win as well. If he wins Colorado, he has 269 electoral votes, and to get the last 1 he would need to win Maine's 2nd district (Maine splits its EV's by district) which is definitely possible. If he doesn't win Maine's 2nd, he has to win Nevada. To produce either of these outcomes, he will have to put all of his resources into those first 6 "Must Wins" and put the rest in Colorado and Northern Maine. In my opinion, this is his only chance, and I'm not sure he has enough resources left to put into 7 states and rural Maine.

Posted by: rrcgrant | October 9, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

watch out for "miltary action" or a huge terrorist alert from the current administration along or about 7 to 10 days prior to the election.

they will stop at nothing; this is surely coming.

Posted by: easysoul | October 9, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

McCain has made Bob Dole's laid back 1996 campaign look like a hothouse of cutthroats and go-getters. If McCain finishes out the string in the lazy manner he has run thus far, it is finished.

The weekends off, the conceding genuine policy issues in favor of "personality politics," going for the Statue of Liberty/halfback pass/Hail Mary pick of Sarah Palin instead of demonstrating the willingness for four yards and a cloud of dust - all signs point to a McCain mindset that he's running because it's his turn, rather than a genuine yearning to be Prez.

I'll say it again - the biggest McCain challenge at this point is not getting to 270. The biggest challenge is keeping Obama from 400 votes. I have been culpable of adding all sorts of pejoratives after "Mc" to highlight McCain's flaws - McSame, McBush, McClueless, McShame, McPalin. The one that will end up sticking will be ... McGovern!

Posted by: bondjedi | October 9, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

It is over for Mctanic, Bush and his Wrecking crew have destroyed this country and brought us to Banana republic status. Nobody has seen such incompetence and the disappearance of over $10 trillion from the economy. The only way Mctanic can win is if Bush and Cheney repay that money back to American taxpayers. Why should we pay an 50% Incompetent tax?
As for Palin, how many mooses does she have to skin to get 10 Trillion ?

Posted by: dea1 | October 9, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

"The times make the man."

Clinton benefited from the Internet boom.
W. Bush had 9-11, Bin Laden, Iraq, a GOP run amuck, and now, an economic catastrophe.
Obama will be the (probably only) beneficiary of the economic catastrophe. McCain will be one of millions of victims.

It is arrogant to think that ANYBODY is larger than the events that surround them.

"...we are all but actors on a stage..."

Posted by: McCainIsPopeye | October 9, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

McCain has sunk from maverick to polecat, and has had an ethical catharsis in the process. He can not win by prostituting his values, he cannot win by foisting upon us an underqualified lap dog, with no credentials, to be his mate, he cannot win by injecting hate and fear into the race, he cannot win by rebuking all the values he stood for in the distant past, he cannot win by using his wife as a surragate, to be his life preserver, he cannot win by using phony indignation, he cannot win by showing us his pique at a young articulate senator who refuses to sink to his level, he cannot win by employing smear tactics he knows are not good for the country, he cannot win by wasting his VP selection on Palin, he cannot win by being intemperate and discarding the sense of decency he used to possess, he cannot win by attempting to stir up the winds of fear and bigotry. He cannot win by using half truths to intimidate the populous. The list goes on and on. Now he expects us to listen to CINDY, who complains about Obama's vote against funding the war, when McCain cast the same vote weeks earlier. On top of this nonsense we are told that Todd Palin is Sarah's political confident, just think not only do we get Sarah the wise but Todd, the snowmobiler, also. The list goes on and on, if America cannot see through the inane, and desperate tactics of McCain and Palin then, and only then, can they win. I hope America is not that naive.

Posted by: jbrubin | October 9, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

McCain has sunk from maverick to polecat, and has had an ethical catharsis in the process. He can not win by prostituting his values, he cannot win by foisting upon us an underqualified lap dog, with no credentials, to be his mate, he cannot win by injecting hate and fear into the race, he cannot win by rebuking all the values he stood for in the distant past, he cannot win by using his wife as a surragate, to be his life preserver, he cannot win by using phony indignation, he cannot win by showing us his pique at a young articulate senator who refuses to sink to his level, he cannot win by employing smear tactics he knows are not good for the country, he cannot win by wasting his VP selection on Palin, he cannot win by being intemperate and discarding the sense of decency he used to possess, he cannot win by attempting to stir up the winds of fear and bigotry. He cannot win by using half truths to intimidate the populous. The list goes on and on. Now he expects us to listen to CINDY, who complains about Obama's vote against funding the war, when McCain cast the same vote weeks earlier. On top of this nonsense we are told that Todd Palin is Sarah's political confident, just think not only do we get Sarah the wise but Todd, the snowmobiler, also. The list goes on and on, if America cannot see through the inane, and desperate tactics of McCain and Palin then, and only then, can they win. I hope America is not that naive.

Posted by: jbrubin | October 9, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

McCain has sunk from maverick to polecat, and has had an ethical catharsis in the process. He can not win by prostituting his values, he cannot win by foisting upon us an underqualified lap dog, with no credentials, to be his mate, he cannot win by injecting hate and fear into the race, he cannot win by rebuking all the values he stood for in the distant past, he cannot win by using his wife as a surragate, to be his life preserver, he cannot win by using phony indignation, he cannot win by showing us his pique at a young articulate senator who refuses to sink to his level, he cannot win by employing smear tactics he knows are not good for the country, he cannot win by wasting his VP selection on Palin, he cannot win by being intemperate and discarding the sense of decency he used to possess, he cannot win by attempting to stir up the winds of fear and bigotry. He cannot win by using half truths to intimidate the populous. The list goes on and on. Now he expects us to listen to CINDY, who complains about Obama's vote against funding the war, when McCain cast the same vote weeks earlier. On top of this nonsense we are told that Todd Palin is Sarah's political confident, just think not only do we get Sarah the wise but Todd, the snowmobiler, also. The list goes on and on, if America cannot see through the inane, and desperate tactics of McCain and Palin then, and only then, can they win. I hope America is not that naive.

Posted by: jbrubin | October 9, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

"All of those signs point to trouble for McCain who must -- we repeat MUST -- find a way to change the narrative arc of the campaign soon if he wants to win the White House."

Chris, this statement sounds like you're exhorting McCain to another absurd act of drama -- inciting him to up the ante, make the story juicier. Sounds like you're trying to manipulate him into doing something that will make more good copy.

This kind of media coverage only contributes to the problem. Let McCain's campaign die a peaceful death.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | October 9, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Can Sen. McCain win? Yes, but. It will almost certainly take an event outside his control.

1) Foreign Policy Crisis. Iran tests a nuclear weapon. Russia invades the Ukraine. China moves on Taiwan. It is still a dangerous world, and a foreign policy crisis will both overshadow the economic crisis and shift the story of the election onto McCain's strongest turf.

2) Terrorist Activity. Al Qaeda committed strikes on the eve of the Spanish election; it's not impossible they would do the same thing here. Short-term it is easy to imagine a violent swing of soft voters to McCain under such horrible circumstances.

3) New Obama "News". If some new story pops up that creates a story about Obama we've never heard before- say, he was arrested once for possession when he was 17, or someone has video of him sitting through a virulent Rev. Wright-ish sort of sermon and nodding or applauding, it would spook enough people to at least make the election competitive again.

The odds of any of these happening are low, but it's not impossible.

Posted by: howlless | October 9, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

A McCain win would be a big surprise, giving the models of economists and political scientists who predict election outcomes. These models predict elections based on, for example, the economic situation, voting cycles, the incumbent's popularity, the candidates' positions on issues, and so on. Out of 14 models, only one sees McCain as the winner.

The models are summarized at the PollyVote, http://www.pollyvote.com . The PollyVote also provides a combined forecast with additional information from polls, a prediction markets, and expert judgements. At no point in the campaign since August 2007, it predicted McCain (or the Republicans) to win.

Posted by: Anderl | October 9, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

The polls at this point show ... nothing. Their real margin of error is closer to 10% than their claimed 3%.

Has everyone forgotten already the recent Democratic primary where Hillary won a state that the polls all said she would lose by 6 points ?

The key to this election is the turnout of the youth vote, and that is unknowable until election day. If they don't show ... and they never have before ... Obama loses.
.

Posted by: gitarre | October 9, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

McCain is in a tough spot. He is part of a party that is becoming factions while the Dems are really pulling their act together behind a candidate and healing some wounds. He would have to get the religious, the Reaganites, the libertarians, the gun nuts, and the "hockey moms" all under one tent, but they started to scatter a while ago.

He needs a PR grenade. Unfortunately for him, Obama co-opted the whole "Change" message before McCain got a chance. JacksonLanders pretty much summed it up saying that he's just out-organized and out of time. The only way he wins now is if Obama loses.

http://www.squatcrouch.com/

Posted by: Squatty_HJ | October 9, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

who really cares if mccain comes back. most of us hope he won't. does the u.s really need 20th century solutions (and look how well those turned out) to 21 st century problems?...of course not, any rational human being would have written off the mccain solution months ago (at least)

Posted by: jpsbr2002 | October 9, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

There would have to be a pretty big bombshell dropped on Obama for him to have a chance of winning. But the chances of that happening are pretty slim, so McCain needs to work at winning on his own, not relying a hope that someone will dig something up on his opponent.
For now, if he wants to try to close the gaps in the polls, he needs to seem like less of crotchety, grumpy old man and he needs to stop the character attacks. He also needs to show Obama more respect in the last debate, like looking him in the eye and not referring to him as "that one". He needs to be less condescending to voters, like that man he said had probably never heard of Fannie or Freddie. Finally, he needs to work on the comment he made about the fact that my grandparents are going to get more Social Seucrity than my parent will and I will. As a 16 year old who is worried enough about college at this point, the fact that my Social Security is going to be limited is just adding salt to wounds.
Go Obama!!!!!!

Posted by: HannahBanana | October 9, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

sorry Chris

didn't mean "you" in that last post...

I am a reasonable person...

but there is a time for Americans to get angry

and it is now...

Mccain is pulling the 8 year old fear card...

and if anything should get us angry

it should be that card that got us here.

Posted by: klondike2 | October 9, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

There is a time to get angry...

and it is now.


Number one reason we are here in this mess...

are the fear tactics that they and you are using.

Time to Get angry!

Our economy down the tubes...Afghanistan falling apart because we ignored it for John mcCain's war...our constitution in tatters...our standing in the toilet... our children's future in question...

somebody utters these scare tactics

somebody lies like they have to distract for the last 8 years..

somebody says, wmd, mushroom cloud, "that person is unAmerican", makes stuff up about Obama, accuses the press of bring biased...

we have heard it for 8 years!


Get angry.

these are the people who have destroyed our country over the last 8 years

and they are going for a 9th.

throw these lying fear mongering liars out.


It is time to get ANGRY!!!!!!

throw these lying bums OUT!!!!!

Posted by: klondike2 | October 9, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Two things I think even the pundits are missing:

1. The difference-maker in this election will be Obama's personal magnetism. Of all the things they are saying mcCain should/shouldn't do, he can't be taught this innate ability. Obama comes off as calm and controlled; McCain comes off as strident and defensive. Game over on this count alone.

2. What McCain DOES have innately, is a devout military perspective. As he proved in Vietnam, he will defend something to the death, eschewing personal benefit. Admirable, indeed, but to state that Sarah Palin has more experience than Obama AND Biden combined, is simply taking this notion too far. He may not be the negotiator we need to take a different approach to the world's problems. And make no mistake, the world is now a lot smaller, and needs to be viewed as a whole.

Posted by: ajs8 | October 9, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Number one reason we are here in this mess...

are the fear tactics that they are using.

Time to Get angry!

our economy down the tubes...Afghanistan falling apart because we ignored it for John mcCain's war...our constitution in tatters...our standing in the toilet... our children's future in question...

somebody utters these scare tactics

somebody lies like they have to distract for the last 8 years..

somebody says, wmd, mushroom cloud, "that person is unAmerican", makes stuff up about Obama, accuses the press of bring biased...

we have heard it for 8 years!


Get angry.

these are the people who have destroyed our country over the last 8 years

and they are going for a 9th.

throw these lying fear mongering liars out.

Posted by: klondike2 | October 9, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

In a word, no. Not without the proverbial live boy or dead girl.

John McCain simply has none of the things going for him that are necessary to win, aside from the nomination of a major party. He is hopelessly out-spent and out-organized. According to the people at fivethirtyeight.com, who visited dozens of McCain field offices in various swing states, the offices are empty and dead. Nobody is doing anything. There are few volunteers and those few aren't actually doing much. John McCain has *zero* ground game in most areas.

The things that McCain could do to win needed to be done 6 or 12 months ago. Obama started preparing his ground game for the general election 2 years ago. You can't throw something together at the last minute to compete with a massive organization like that.

It's not helping that McCain has given up the major advantage of a running mate by constantly appearing jointly with Palin. A candidate and his running mate should not see each other in person for the entire month before election day. They should each be hitting different swing states every day, as a force multiplier. The fact that they have let go of such a fundamental grasp of how to manage dwindling time and resources suggests to me that John McCain, in his heart, has already lost hope of winning.

Posted by: JacksonLanders | October 9, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

McCain can't win this election on character; that's not the #1 concern of voters, and these questions (e.g. Wright, Rezko) have been out there forever. They didn't save Clinton, and there's no reason they'll save McCain. I think their effect is maximized already. This is a pre-financial downturn strategy, at best.

In war, you have to engage your offense on the battlefield. The battlefield of this election is the economy. McCain needs to get on the offense on the economy. How?

1. McCain needs to do a real people tour of those helped by polices he steered through as Chairman of the Commerce Committee. They won't be manufacturing jobs, but there's probably something to which he can point. He could perhaps visit nuclear plants and alternative energy ventures as well to highlight how some change he'd make would create new jobs. Showing how his policies have created jobs in the past would emphasize McCain's experience leading change in Washington, and buy him some credibility he desperately needs. Note in passing that Obama has no such record or credibility on improving the economy.

2. This could be coupled with meeting people struggling with health care because of HMO or insurance restrictions. Visit someone who couldn't choose the care they wanted because of restrictions in their health plan. Emphasize that under a McCain plan, they could have chosen their health care plan and not have had it dictated to them. Note that under an Obama plan, while he might reduce health care insurance costs for some, his plan will be more of the same: the government instead of your employer will dictate your coverage. Note in passing that with the deficit ballooning and the financial crisis taking the economy down, there's probably no money for an Obama plan, but there is for a McCain budget-neutral plan.

3. Invoke Bill Clinton. Discuss that Clinton had economic success in the 1990s by cutting spending to reduce the deficit, strategically deregulating to unleash economic growth (e.g. tech sector), and opening up new markets (e.g. NAFTA). Claim that a McCain administration will do that, while an Obama administration will do the exact opposite of Clinton. This could drive a wedge between Hillary (and Bill Clinton) supporters and Obama supporters. More importantly, it would tie McCain to success and someone who's not Bush.

4. Emphasize bipartisanship. Highlight that bipartisanship in the 1990s was a key reason for economic success. Clinton and a Republican House worked together to reform welfare, open up trade, etc. Both sides are needed for success. Highlight McCain's record of bipartisanship, blame current problems in part on Bush's partisanship, and emphasize that Obama's a partisan. Note that Social Security and Medicare can only be fixed in a bipartisan way.

5. Tie economic and health care into a larger "personal security" theme with protecting people from terrorism. That's already a McCain strength and maybe a little of that sheen will rub off on the rest.

Posted by: mustafahirji | October 9, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Voters will remember the most recent fumble in the voting booth...McCain's freak out over the bail out. The economy trumps all. Repubs LOVE their money...even they will vote Obama. Just the xtian right will vote for Palin...er, McCain.

Posted by: wpost4112 | October 9, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

A McCain win is possible, but he absolutely must find something that turns the conversation his way. So far, there is nothing now or on the horizon that will help him do that.
The longer Obama dominates the issues and holds the public's trust on the economy, especially, the harder McCain's work becomes. Lacking a "game changer"--to use that cliche expression--at some point (and we may be past it already), it will become impossible for McCain to overcome the obstacles between him and the White House.
If things continue as they are, Obama wins.

Posted by: dbitt | October 9, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Sure, McCain can win. He just needs to:

1. Link Bill Ayres to the sub-prime mortgage industry.
2. Link Michelle Obama to AIG.
3. Link Warren Buffett to Bill Ayres.
4. Link Joe Biden to Paris Hilton.
5. Link Barack himself to the "grassy knoll." Has Obama sufficiently documented his whereabouts on November 22, 1963?

Posted by: wagthedog | October 9, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Sure McCain can win because I don't think a lot of these polls are correct especially Gallup. Obama has outspent McCain 3-1, has spent over 2 million dollars in several states and is only a few points ahead. What voters tell pollsters and what they do when they vote are two different things. If you really look inside of these polls voters think McCain would also be a good President and they also say they can change their mind. It seems support of Obama is soft. We saw in the primaries that Obama is not a closer. I really don't think things are all going to go the way that everyone predicts on election day and we are in for a few suprises.

Posted by: sque1 | October 9, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Only if the same team that scared us and lied us into the last 8 years...

aren't called on it.

same team
same tactics
9th year

America get angry...really angry at these lying distracting scare you into your vote losers.

Throw these bums out!

Posted by: klondike2 | October 9, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Why should Mccain win? Mccain doesn't want to talk about issues and the economy nor does he want his running mate too. Mccain wants to talk about anything else but the economy and both he and his Vp lost every debate. Why should Mccain win? Mccain is not fit to be president, incompetent, eractic and un stable. Lacks judgement, ideas, leadership qualities, and has the wrong philosopy to move this country foward and thats why he's lost 2 debates to the same candidate for simular attacks I mentioned about. Why is Obama winning debates and in the polls if the question is Who is Obama? The question should be Who is Mccain because he doesn't know if he wants to be a Maverick, Reformer, or a mudslinger and that for sure are not qualities for the next president of the United States of America. OBAMA/BIDEN 08

Posted by: amosdefnails | October 9, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Can he win? yes.
Can he beat Obama? No.

Put those two together, and you have the one plausible path McCain has to victory. God help us (and Sarah Palin) if something like that occurs.

Posted by: starthom | October 9, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

McCain can't win. Short of Bush declaring marshal law and installing McCain as president, John McCain will not occupy the oval office.

McCain has put himself in an impossible box. He has cast his lot with the Republican right, which undercuts his claims of being a "maverick". He cannot run on the issues, so he attacks Obama, only revealing his "McNasty" temperament that his handlers have worked so hard to conceal. His lack of judgment and willingness to shoot from the hip may prove as damaging to his prospects as his positions on the issues.

The problem is that while he cannot win, he can do a lot of damage to the country in the next three weeks. The polarizing ranting of his pit bull Palin increasingly makes McCain rallies sound more and more like gatherings of the Klan, with fewer sheets perhaps.

Posted by: meridianm | October 9, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm not certain there is anything that McCain/Palin can do, but there are a few things that can happen.

1) Bin Laden is captured - This will shift the dialog and create a lifeline for McCain.

2) There is a terrorist attack on U.S. citizens. Heaven forbid this happens, but it will serve to shift the concern to safety of Americans.

3) As for a direct action. I think he needs to sit in a swing state like, Ohio or Florida and have a 24/7 town hall meeting with Gov. Palin and answer every question asked. They can take turns during the day.

The media storm would be intense. People would flock there to participate. It would raise the perception that he's actually interested in listening to and learning from citizens. He as well as Palin.

It's cheap enough to execute in these closing days. And it might give him the ability to develop a plan of action that will resonate with America.

Having said all of this, I doubt if he can move the needle any longer. Palin did not help him outside of his base, she may have helped herself for a national run. The Republicans, and McCain is one, have less credibility on the economy than the Democrats at this point. At this point it seem that Americans what coherent action and you don't get that with divided government, so that argument won't help.

Posted by: hkelsey | October 9, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

As an outsider looking in with no say in U.S. Elections, but an ardent follower of things political, an opinion.

I met Barrack Obama at one of his early rallies in Seattle Washington, it was short but it was intense, in fact it was electric.

He could have just brushed me off as a Canadian but he didn't, he had genuine interest it what I thought about his ideas, but the big thing that really hit me was who was there, and it was the future of your country.

So many young people absolutely electrified about this mans ability to change things, to actually give them hope that things can be better, and everyone that I talked to agreed he can.

You will not change their minds, they believe that they can change things and they will not let the opportunity slide by.

I really believe that you have yet to see the power his believers have, and its not the Kool Aid as his detractors will say, its hope, and yes we can, and change.

These young people have been empowered by Obama, they are an unstoppable force, he has made them believe in themselves, The old saying " You ain't seen nuthin yet " applies in spades.

Never before in your history have so many young voters actually cared about politics because they didn't believe they could change the status quo, they believe now!

The Question was can McCain win?

Its like trying to stop the change in the tides.

Really its over for John McCain, for him its an exercise in futility.

Posted by: kentaylor1 | October 9, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

I don't think McCain can do it. He's lost the ear of the average voter with his increasingly erratic behavior and his embrace of Rove 'win-at-any-cost' strategies. He doesn't come across as a reasoned politician but a fossil. And this undercuts any argument that's he's ready to lead the country.

He and Palin can't win by whipping the 'converted' into a frenzy. That tactic only alienates the swing voters he needs to attract. I think even if there were an extraordinary international event, a majority would still view Obama as more measured and mature. This election is about the present and the future and McCain is too associated with the past.

Posted by: RickJ | October 9, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

McCain/Palin are underdogs and are in trouble, though some of us would suggest that America will be in trouble because a McCain/Palin loss will mean higher taxes, bigger government, and more regulation which will lead to less jobs and less economic growth.

Is government performing in an efficient and economically prudent manner with the tasks it is already working on?

Do we really want government to run other things like health care?

We are counting on young comedians on Saturday Night Live to tell the truth about the liberal sources of the current financial crisis and Senator Obama's connection to Fannie/Freddie and Acorn and their and his responsibility for the downturn.

Hopefully NBC's censorship of last Saturday's skit won't have a chilling effect on this Saturday's revelations.

It is a shame when comedians are more professional than AP, NY Times and much of the mainstream media.

Next week's debate will be key. In November, voters will have a choice between the most liberal senator in Congress who has repeatedly gone along with the rascals in his party or the moderate John McCain who regularly takes on his own party and is often a pain in the ... back ... of the current administration.

Posted by: Xanadu3 | October 9, 2008 7:43 AM | Report abuse

No. McCain has put himself in a box by pulling so many stunts. Anything he does will just look like another stunt pulled by a desperate loser. But we shall see, no? Politico says he has another stunt planned for today.

Posted by: MadAsHell3 | October 9, 2008 7:42 AM | Report abuse

There is only one path to McCain victory:

The October Surprise.

Unfortunately for him, this path is out of his own hands - he can only hope and pray. Ayers won't do it for him. Nor will Wright. He needs something full scale crazy - like old video footage of Obama smoking a joint and talking about how one day he will be President and "get revenge on the white guys". It needs to be that huge.

But it won't happen. Obama wins with 350+

Posted by: Boutan | October 9, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Very difficult for Mac to get to 270. Mac needs to run the table in about six battlegrounds states some of which he's behind in by double digits like VA. The most conservative of polls show O at 360+.
Also O needs only to get to 269 and has multiple paths through the various states to get to that number. We are three weeks out and Gallup has O up by 11. Very difficult.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 9, 2008 7:22 AM | Report abuse

No way, no how. This election was decided the day mccain picked palin as his vp, it just took a few weeks for the magnitude of the historic blunder to set in. The public knows that mccain is OLD, he may very likely not survive a four year term, and look who he picks to sit in the oval office.....wink.

Posted by: pgiaquinto | October 9, 2008 7:14 AM | Report abuse

McCain can absolutely win, though he is not on a trajectory to do so right now.

Things that won't work

* I don't think that at this late stage of the game he can win by raising issues about Obama's character. It may still change things slightly at the margins (which is good in borderline states), but won't make a big enough difference. People have decided he's okay/acceptable. Recall that at this point in the 2004 campaign Kerry was saddled with character issues/narratives raised by the Bush campaign and people had doubts.
* I don't think McCain can count on Obama making a gaffe between now and the election.

So... what are the ways McCain can win?
* Unexpected change of events: Something happens like a terrorist attach or major international incident that changes the subject of the campaign. This would, of course, just be "luck" (sort-of) for his campaign. It would definitely make the difference.
* I expect Obama will perform a few points below where he is polling... the Bradley effect. If through advertising and campaign events he can move the numbers in key states to where he is within striking distance he may pull it off.
* Most importantly: He needs to clearly put forward what he would do differently than the Bush administration... it's just not sinking in and people feel he'd be a 3rd term of Bush. His prescriptions for our national's ills sound like more of the same even though it would be a much different type of administration. Think Sarkozy.

Peoples' impressions of the two candidates are hardening. He needs to act now to challenge the view he would be a 3rd Bush term. All year I've thought it more likely McCain would win, but now at this point Obama can lose Virginia, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and Nevada and still come out ahead.

Posted by: VinceDC | October 9, 2008 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Of course McCain can come back, but it would take a major error on the Obama's campaign to allow it to happen.

Three and a half weeks ago we were all freaking out (on the left) at the polling numbers showing McCain in the lead.

Then McCain "suspended" his campaign, screwed up the bailout, had a weird debate, Palin had her interviewed and things went South for them.

With the economy as it is, McCain is sunk if things in the race stay the same. Screaming AYERS and WRIGHT won't do it. Only an Obama-Biden massive screwup can help McCain get back in the race.

Posted by: nrudy | October 9, 2008 6:55 AM | Report abuse

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