Despite polls and pundits, McCain hanging on
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"The economic crisis dealt the McCain campaign a fatal body blow," Wolfson wrote in the New Republic. "None the less, the choices that Senator McCain has made during this race will impact the margin of his defeat and the fortunes of other Republicans on the ballot. Today it's worth considering what Senator McCain could have done differently."
David Brooks, at the New York Times, takes it a step further -- not only conceding the election to Obama, all but predicting the death of conservatism.
"What we’re going to see, in short, is the Gingrich revolution in reverse and on steroids," he writes. "There will be a big increase in spending and deficits. In normal times, moderates could have restrained the zeal on the left. In an economic crisis, not a chance. The over-reach is coming. The backlash is next."
And then there is another conservative who insists on grabbing the spotlight and turning the conversation into a circus sideshow.
How to fix the campaign? William Kristol says, blow everything up. Fire everyone.
“The McCain campaign, once merely problematic, is now close to being out-and-out dysfunctional,” Kristol wrote Sunday. “Its combination of strategic incoherence and operational incompetence has become toxic. If the race continues over the next three weeks to be a conventional one, McCain is doomed.”
“What McCain needs to do is junk the whole thing and start over,” he continues. “Shut down the rapid responses, end the frantic e-mails, bench the spinning surrogates, stop putting up new TV and Internet ads every minute. In fact, pull all the ads — they’re doing no good anyway. Use that money for televised town halls and half-hour addresses in prime time.”
The campaign staff, not surprisingly, disagreed with Kristol's analysis. Spokesman Tucker Bounds countered with, "I know Bill Kristol is an intelligent guy, I just don’t think what he had to say was very intelligent."
Just like Iraq
Asked if firing his entire campaign staff would send the wrong message to voters, Kristol told FOX News yesterday it would send just the opposite message.
"No, it would send the same signal Bush sent when he replaced Rumsfeld when we were losing the war in Iraq and put different people in charge, took command, overruled the generals and won the war."
How to win this war? A knockout punch at tonight's debate would certainly help the cause.
But all Obama's got to do is show up and not make any Biden-like gaffes. It can be prevent defense all the way. And the prior two debates have shown him to be cool under pressure.
Don't be surprised if McCain brings a kitchen sink with him. He's got to try everything.
Campaigning in Pennsylvania Tuesday, McCain said electing Obama is a sure-fire prescription for economic misery.
"Perhaps never before in history have the American people been asked to risk so much based on so little. You can look at the record of what he's done or you can just go with your gut, but either way you're left with the same conclusion: Sen. Obama is going to raise your taxes, and in this economy, raising taxes is the surest way to turn a recession into a depression."
Two big nights
McCain's got a couple big nights in front of him. The debate will easily be the most important test in his political life. Something that may get even more attention, however? His appearance on the David Letterman show on Thursday night. Dave's already talking about it...
"It's going to be a big week for John McCain," Letterman said Monday night. "Don't kid yourself. Today and tomorrow he'll be campaigning. Wednesday is the debate. And then, on Thursday, he cancels on me again."