Why did John McCain lose?
Let's start with those "headwinds" into which he was flying.
The president of the United States, the leader of his party, was at Nixon-Carter levels of approval, 25 percent, going into Election Day.
Sixty-two percent of the nation thought the economy was the No. 1 issue, and 93 percent thought the economy was bad. Two-thirds of the nation thought the war McCain championed was a mistake, and 80 percent to 90 percent thought the country was on the wrong course.
As a political athlete, measured by charisma and communications skills, McCain is not even in the same league with Barack Obama. He was outspent by vast sums, and his political organization was far inferior.
It is a wonder McCain was even competitive, dealt such a hand.
Yet, by Sept. 10, McCain, thanks to Sarah Palin, whose selection had proven a sensation, had come from eight points behind to take the lead, and Joe Biden was wailing that maybe Hillary would have been a better choice for Obama.
Then came the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the bailout of AIG, McCain's assertion that the economy was fundamentally sound, and his panicked return to Washington to assist Bush and Hank Paulson push through a wildly unpopular bank bailout -- using 700 billion in tax dollars to buy up rubbish paper the idiot bankers had put on their books.
The Establishment's Man had come to save the Establishment.
Suddenly, it was McCain who was down 10 points, as the feline and feral press went on a wilding attack on Sister Sarah. He never recovered, though the McCain-Palin final push left egg on the faces of pollsters who were predicting a double-digit triumph for Obama.
Perhaps no Republican, in these circumstances, could have won, especially with that month-long bloodletting on Wall Street that wiped out $4 trillion to $5 trillion in stock and bond value, ravaging IRAs and 401Ks, portfolios and pensions alike.
Yet, McCain might still have won had he not, like his three fellow establishment Republicans Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole, been inhibited by the Mainstream Media and his own Beltway beliefs.
Consider. In California, where a liberal judiciary had ordered the state to recognize homosexual marriages, voters, by 52 to 48, slapped the judges across the face and ordered the ban reimposed and placed in the California constitution. Arizona and Florida also voted to outlaw gay marriage, by landslides.
The New York Times deplored the "ugly outcome" of these three referenda and said voters were "enshrining bigotry," thus calling the majority of Californians, Arizonans and Floridians bigots and their Bible-rooted Christian beliefs nothing but bigotry.
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