Prelude to a landslide
With only nine days to go until the election, big things are happening fast in the world of electoral politics. The Financial Times grudgingly endorsed Obama, high ranking Republicans are defecting left and right (or maybe just left) and in Sunday’s Washington Post, conservative journalist David Frum implored Republicans to leave the election for dead and refocus attention on senate races, a tactic he believes will salvage the remaining vestiges of Republican control. But then, strategists from both sides have apparently seen all along that the McCain collapse was a long time coming. Arguing that disaffection with the incumbent party is a good indicator of coming failure — and that considering the current stats it’s remarkable that McCain is polling at better than 9% — Mark McKinnon of The Daily Beast (and former McCain adviser) contends that “the only real surprise in this race is that it was ever close.”
Vision is always 20-20 in premature retrospect, I guess. The new hot topic in electoral analysis is the failure of McCain’s strategizing, and already, even the most conservative analysts have begun picking through the rubble for clues as to what went wrong on the Straight Talk Express. The New York Times Magazine cover story this week was on the many narratives of John McCain — Heroic Fighter, Leader, Maverick — and the message I took from it is this: if the packaging is changed often enough, even the most hardened politician comes off as inconsistent and weak. Does 2004 ring a bell? If Bush got nothing else right (which is entirely likely) it seems that at least his notion of ‘message discipline‘ will stand the test of time.
On another note, if you’re interested in what a genuine McCain endorsement looks like (I was curious), here’s a list of some of the ones I could find. The most overlooked one yet? Michael Powell, former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman and son of Colin Powell. Thanksgiving’s going to be awkward at the Powell house this year.