How did this possibly happen?
I've got a few theories ...
1. I'm of the opinion that the more people learn about Barack Obama, the worse it is for him. Obama is charismatic and highly likable, so his first impression is very positive. But the more people learn about his positions and background, the harder it will be for him to be "all things to all people". In short, his support is tenuous and superficial. Conversely, people pretty much know who John McCain is. His image is built on a solid foundation over many years, so he is less vulnerable to attrition of votes. In short, Obama's mansion is built on sand. McCain's house isn't as pretty, but it's built on a solid rock foundation. Obama does well if the sun shines. McCain needs a storm.
2. McCain's campaign has finally started creating that perfect storm. I think you've got to give Steve Schmidt some credit for that. McCain won the week last week, because for the first time this cycle, the McCain campaign had a consistent message and was able to begin crafting a negative narrative to define Obama as out-of-touch. Schmidt has been at the helm for less than a month, but he was able to turn Obama's trip into a positive for McCain (or, at least, make it a wash). Not bad at all.
3. It is also likely that there has been a backlash to Obama's trip. Aside from the fact that speaking to 200,000 Berliners isn't necessarily going to play well in Peoria, failing to visit the wounded troops plays into the stereotype about Democrats not caring for the troops. As Bill Kristol pointed out on Fox News Sunday yesterday, Obama would have been better served to just visit the Middle East and then meet with world leaders in private. His hubris got the best of him.
In short, I believe there are a combination of factors involved here. But the main point is that Obama is not running away with this race. And I think that once voters realize there is a real chance of one-party control by the Democrats, the better McCain will look ...
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