Joe Scarborough
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John McCain woke up this morning reading how he is a desperate man in need of a fresh start.

The Washington Post calls the political veteran "embattled."

Washington pundits see his campaign as doomed by Iraq.

And some GOP strategists are predicting McCain's imminent demise, though being gracious enough to admit that it may yet be too early to write off McCain's White House bid.

Next thing you know, we will be hearing that the Yankees don’t have a shot at the World Series because of a slow start in April.

What a joke.

Washington's pundits and prognosticators need to keep a paper bag in their top desk drawer next time they start hyperventilating about the collapse of the McCain campaign. The war hero and veteran senator didn't even announce his campaign until today. And his decision to stick by the Commander in Chief in a time of war may not help Senator McCain in the Vineyard, but you can be sure it will bolster his support in conservative cities like Vicksburg and Valdosta.

So what if John McCain is in second place barely one mile into a grueling political marathon?

He still has the strongest campaign structure, is best situated to survive the front-loaded primary process and has someone else to take the slings and arrows leaders are forced to absorb.

Besides, history is on the Arizona senator's side.

Some conservatives hate McCain because of his positions on campaign finance reform, global warming and tax cuts. But taken in its entirety, John McCain's 25 years in Congress show him to be the most consistent major candidate in the race for the Republican nomination.

He is far more consistent and conservative on guns, abortion and gay marriage than Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney. And when it comes to being conservative with taxpayers' dollars, McCain stands in a league of his own.

Who knows what will happen over the next 18 months. Maybe John McCain will be rejected by voters because he is too old, too unpredictable and too short-fused. Only time will tell. But one thing is certain, now is not the time to write off a guy who spent years being beaten like a dog in a POW camp. John McCain has been counted out before, and he has proven his critics wrong.

Expect him to do the same again next year when poll positions actually mean something.

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Joe Scarborough

Joe Scarborough hosts "Scarborough Country," nightly at 9pm on MSNBC and Morning Joe in the mornings (6-9am).

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