Wednesday, November 5, 2008

30 Reasons Why McCain Lost

  1. All summer, McCain kept insisting that "The fundamentals of the economy are strong." Then in September, Wall Street fell apart.
  2. Eight years of Bush and Cheney.
  3. McCain was badly overmanaged by his advisors, something that hurt Al Gore in 2000.
  4. Conservative moderates and independents were turned off by McCain's choice to take a classic, hard-right tone.
  5. Erratic debate performances.
  6. Horrid speechwriters.
  7. McCain's "campaign suspension" during the Wall Street meltdown came off as an awkward PR stunt, and contrasted with Obama's cooler response.
  8. He badly underestimated Obama's ground game.
  9. Carly Fiorino and Phil Gramm.
  10. McCain's Jekyll & Hyde temperament.
  11. Iraq War fatigue.
  12. McCain's mad dog-like posturing after the Russian invasion of Georgia.
  13. Two words: "My friends."
  14. Voters ignored McCain's negative ads (and those of 527 groups) on Obama's old associations.
  15. The long primary fight between Obama and Hillary Clinton denied McCain a single target his campaign could build a case against.
  16. Propping up the media as a straw man never clicked outside his base.
  17. The autumn plunge in oil prices negated his "Drill, baby. Drill" argument.
  18. Formerly reliable social conservative wedge issues like gay marriage were overshadowed by the economy.
  19. McCain hired the same political hitmen (e.g. Tucker Eskew) that Bush used to slime him in 2000. The result made McCain look like someone who was willing to compromise his own dignity to win.
  20. Bloggers posting video of ugly behavior at McCain rallies (e.g. Crazy McCain Lady, racism) did not cast the campaign in a good light.
  21. McCain's fundraising never took off.
  22. McCain often wasted time stumping in states he either had locked up (Tennessee), or didn't have a chance to win (Iowa, California).
  23. Using blue-collar workers as populist superheroes (e.g. Tito The Laborer, Joe The Plumber) soon became a public joke, especially when Joe Werzelbacher—who wasn't even a licensed plumber—began fielding questions at McCain events about US-Israeli policy.
  24. The government's $700B bank bailout undermined McCain's "Obama is a Socialist" argument.
  25. Though understandable, the physical toll of the campaign on McCain became visible down the stretch.
  26. McCain took strategic advice from Sean Hannity.
  27. Voter concerns about McCain's age and health.
  28. When Team McCain had to put on a unified face in its final weeks, it suffered from internal squabbling.
  29. McCain co-managers Steve Schmidt and Rick Davis never shifted beyond the Rovian model of stoking the base, which does not work in elections that are not extremely tight (a la Gore, Kerry).
  30. Finally, McCain picked Sarah Palin as his VP, who was completely unprepared for the national stage.

No comments: