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E.J.'s <i>Advice</i>

Writing in today's Washington Post, E.J. Dionne, Jr. notes that John McCain's current campaign is a "tragedy."

First, I believe it is dangerous to pay attention to advice or analysis from someone like E.J. Dionne. Dionne is an unabashed liberal, and any Republican candidate should wear his criticism as a badge of honor.  Additionally, because of his motives (he would love to see Hillary or Obama in the White House), I would question the sincerity of his analysis.


Dionne's criticism is also predictable; Establishment media types loved McCain when he was the new flavor. That is no longer the case; the media are fickle.

Liberals loved saying nice things about McCain, so long as he was challenging George W. Bush in a Primary. But now that he is a frontrunner for the GOP nomination -- who may end up taking on Obama or Hillary in a General Election -- he has suddenly lost the adoration of the very people he once referred to as his "base."

But regardless of whether or not you like McCain, analysts who are predicting the demise of his campaign are either quixotic or incredibly premature.

First, because of the marathon-like nature of modern presidential campaigns, you could argue that the worst possible thing that could happen to McCain would be to peak now. We still have many, many months before the first votes are cast, and there will be many ups and downs for each candidate.  He may be lucky to be hitting his low point now (presuming this is, in fact, his low point ...)

Second, while money is "the mother's milk of politics," grassroots organization is still extremely vital. In 2004, we saw how important the GOP's Get-Out-The-Vote effort was (especially in states like Ohio) to identifying and turning out pro-Bush voters. McCain's is the only campaign close to being able to pull something like this off in multiple states. Nobody can currently match his organization -- and that will matter on Election Day.


Lastly, having run for president before, McCain has gained valuable campaign experience that cannot be taught.  He will likely avoid some stumbles that a first-time candidate would make.

He may not win, but it's way too early to write him off ...


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