All the Albatrosses of John McCain, and One with Lipstick

McCain has carried a big burden, about fifteen albatrosses, in this election, and boy is his neck tired. It was going to be tough winning against the Bush legacy, but McCain tied some of these albatrtosses around his own neck, including the one with the lipstick. Your task is to decide which is the biggest albatross that plagues him.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

John McCain surely knew this election would hold challenges for him. He already had George Bush hanging around his neck, as did all the Republicans running for the nomination this year. But the big problem with this election is that John McCain had several other albatrosses hanging around his neck by this last week of the campaign, some of which he hung there himself. Now it may be too early to write a history of why McCain lost, if he does indeed lose this election, but we can certainly count the bird that have weighed him down. One place to go birdwatching is at the polls.

The NYTimes/CBS poll, for instance, shows evangelical Christians supporting McCain, but not as much as they supported Bush, and not with nearly so much fervor. The big albatross here, though, is Christian groups coming out and supporting Barack Obama, even to the point of forming a 527 group and running commercials supportive of Obama. Looks like even the nomination of Palin as Veep didn’™t help.

Speaking of Sarah Palin, she’™s an albatross in lipstick. That same NY Times/CBS poll shows Sarah Palin’™s waning popularity is dragging McCain down by the neck. HEre’™s a bit of the analysis from the New York Times:

All told, 59 percent of voters surveyed said Ms. Palin was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month. Nearly a third of voters polled said the vice-presidential selection would be a major factor influencing their vote for president, and those voters broadly favor Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee.

And in a possible indication that the choice of Ms. Palin has hurt Mr. McCain’™s image, voters said they had much more confidence in Mr. Obama to pick qualified people for his administration than they did in Mr. McCain.

That’™s a whole bunch of people who won’™t vote for McCain because of the most important choice any candidate makes during his campaign, the choice of a running mate. That’™s gotta be a heavy albatross, you betcha. Of course, Palin is a stand-in for the Radical Right Wing Christian Cleric albatross, and they’™re evidently conceding this election. Of course, they style themselves as ‘œsocial conservatives,’ whack jobs that they are, and they’™ve scheduled a pow wow next week to exorcize the demons they have brought to the election. Or maybe they’™ll just whine a lot. Oh, I shouldn’™t say anything. the meeting is supposed to be SECRET!

Here’™s an interesting albatross in the Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll, where Obama is surging. Seems even the most faithful of McCain demographics, those men who idolize war heroes, are moving towards Obama slowly but surely. And both the white vote and the conservative vote are headed to the Senator from Illinois as well. Here’™s a taste of the Reuters analysis:

Obama held steady or expanded his edge among several crucial blocs of swing voters, leading by 19 points among independents, 10 points among women, 9 points among Catholics and 7 points among voters above the age 65.

Obama also moved ahead of McCain, an Arizona senator, by 5 points among men. McCain still leads by 8 points among white voters but only earns the support of about 30 percent of Hispanics, a fast-growing group that gave President George W. Bush more than 40 percent of their vote in 2004.

The poll also found Obama was doing a better job of reaching across ideological lines, earning the support of nearly 20 percent of self-described conservatives. McCain wins about 10 percent of liberals.

I must say it is awfully fun tracking all the troubles, albatrosses, that have hampered McCain’™s clear sailing. Of course, there’™s more than the Palin selection that’™s his fault. He courted the Radical Right Wing Christian Clerics, after all, he displayed ignorance of economic policy, then an almost spastic need to pander to every voter group in the country. McCain’™s already angry demeanor was only emphasized by the constant negatives against Barack Obama. Every time an ad ran saying something about ‘œconsorting with terrorists,’ with some ominous announcer, it ended with McCain saying he approved of the message. Holy crap! Isn’™t he the one who helped add that ‘œI approve this message’ bit? His own campaign finance laws, of course, are another set of albatrosses.

It’™s hard to calculate all the other self-inflicted burdens McCain has placed around his own neck. There was the cancellation of the first day of the GOP Convention, the ‘œsuspending the campaign’ stunt, the poor debate performances by both Palin and McCain, the blatant racism among his supporters, some of them, which is turning off independents. The tarnished Republican brand? That goes without saying. But it’™s your turn.

What’™s the biggest of these problems McCain has draped himself with? Could it be that the biggest problem is that he’™s running against a man of genuine stature and leadership in Barack Obama? I’™d like to think so.

Friday, October 31st, 2008 by Richard Blair |

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