After last night’s VP debate, I’m hard pressed to see how things could get much worse for Team McCain.
Not that Sarah Palin bombed in St. Louis. She didn’t. I just think that her boss is out of bullets.
At 31 days remaining in the election, McCain is struggling badly for traction on any issue (beyond national security).
He is also drowning in a steady rain of bad economic news, and Team Obama is besting McCain's ground game (him leaving Michigan being a key example). McCain also voted this week for a Senate bailout bill padded with the same earmarks that he openly reviles. So he can’t play his earmark-busting maverick act as effectively now.
McCain’s “Drill, Baby, Drill” mantra has also lost starch since Congress allowed the offshore moratorium to expire, and he cannot use the hysterical, Fox News ploy of trying to link Obama to Rev. Jeremiah Wright with much effect – ironically, thanks to Sean Hannity who beat the story to death last spring.
Finally—and perhaps worst of all for McCain—he cannot reintroduce Sarah Palin to America.
So considering all of the above, what has McCain got left in his holster? According to some, the answer is negative ads. Lots and lots of negative ads.
Yet even these are problematic for McCain, as veering his campaign into the territory he once rejected as low-road politics makes him look desperate, hypocritical, and risks alienating voters by seemingly caring more about nailing Obama than offering solutions to their problems – that is, beyond endlessly bleating “Vote for me. I’ll fix everything.”
So simply, barring a huge mistake by Team Obama (or a racist electorate that can’t bring itself to vote for the black guy), as of now, I see little for McCain to bank on as his opponent steadily runs out the clock.