mccain in 2008?
I supported John McCain's bid for President in 2000 and I continue to support him now. Yet one cannot escape the sense that there is something missing from his campaign. It is not only the fundraising problems or the overzealous support for Bush on Iraq. One wonders if, like Bob Dole a few times back, his time has simply passed.
The problem with this analysis is that, when one gets past the "flavor of the month" analysis to the actual substance, it's hard to see exactly where McCain has gone wrong. Yes, he has supported Bush in a pro forma way, but he was very clear early on the war would not be won on the cheap and honest to a fault about it. His courage in supporting immigration reform is a model for the rest of the party. Overall he is a an intelligent, moderate, "national greatness" conservative in the Western tradition, far closer to the winning Republican formula than any of the available alternatives.
It's hard to tell if things will turn around for McCain, although the long season makes it a more realistic possibility (and John Kerry did so in a much shorter season). As noted here before, both the 40-year pattern (in which the elections since 1980 perfectly track those after 1940 with the two parties reversed) and the 8-year pattern (2000-2008 looking a lot like 1960-68, down to the ranch in Texas and the so-called "credibility gap") predict a Democratic victory. Indeed, either Hillary Clinton or Al Gore fills the Richard Nixon role almost perfectly, although Nixon at least did not rely on Pat to do his campaigning for him. But it's a long campaign season and a few more terror attacks, which have plainly been encouraged by Western weakness, could turn everything around.
Incidentally, I find Clinton's campaign increasingly sad, notwithstanding the very real possibility that she will win. Once a fiery feminist, she is now pretty much openly campaigning as an extension of her husband's presidency, down to including him at an increasing number of her campaign events. Almost no one that you talk to, including liberal democrats, really wants her (or them) to be President. Sure, given the competition, it's possible and perhaps even likely that she can win. But could she govern?