According to RCP, he’s down an average of 4.9% in the polls. So jwc (with me agreeing, I admit), for example, was wrong to say he’d never crawl within 5 again. According to David Brooks, the country is stuck with a reactionary lurch to the left that will produce unsustainable (European-style) economic policies that will make our downturn worse and make America far less able to endure the demographic crisis just around the corner. And the same can be said about politically correct social/cultural policies alien to the ways most Americans live, including an unprecedented kind of judicial activism. That overreach, Brooks predicts, will cause a backlash. Well, maybe so, but it’ll be a reasonable backlash against decisions that will be almost impossible to reverse; when reasonable people are impotent, they get unreasonably angry. Every conservative has to admit that an unprecedented overreach will produce an unprecedented backlash, and it would be better, if possible, to moderate them both. If you like out-of-control culture war, vote Democratic across the board this time.
According to aesthetic or Crunch Con Rod Dreher, a big McCain and Republican defeat will be a just judgment on their sins and errors. I have to admit there are plenty of those, and the biggest of them was to be so corrupt, incompetent, and clueless as to allow the Democratic "negative landslide" of 2006 to occur. Truth to tell, if the Republicans controlled Congress, the Obama presidency wouldn’t seem that bad.
BUT, Brooks admits, any moderation in ambivalence in the smart and cool Barack himself will be overwhelmed by the ideological extremism of the most dogmatically liberal Congress ever.
SO it’s really, really important to vote for McCain to moderate the overreach. Just as it’s really, really important to vote Republican for Congress--especially for the Senate--to have some kind of check on the big-time reactionary excesses.
Lots of conservative purists are saying that McCain ain’t so conservative and doesn’t deserve our allegiance. Not only that, Sarah screwed up the interviews and hasn’t read enough books. Well, he is a piece of work and Sarah should have been better prepared. So what? All that posturing is just stupid and self-indulgent: The point of voting is to make life as good as it can be for Americans, espeically ordinary Americans who depend on government in many ways to enjoy peace, prosperity, and freedom.
As a social scientist, I think McCain only has a ghost of chance; I’m sticking with my August prediction that it’s about 10-20%. A complete collapse of his campaign is probably just as likely as a successful surge. But for now I’m moved by his favorite closing argument about nothing being inevitable and all that.