No, I’m not referring to the post-apocalyptic ABC miniseries from 1983. I’m referring to another disaster, also man-made: the McCain campaign. The American Thinker has a good analysis titled Why McCain Lost (posted November 5, 2008) of why the McCain campaign imploded. The key point is that McCain is a Reagan Democrat who wanted to play the nice moderate. However he hamstrung himself by not choosing not to challenge Obama on a number of issues. And he lacks as much understanding of economics as Obama so McCain was unable to question Obama’s economic “plan” (which essentially is a collection of spending programs).
You can't bring moderation to an ideology fight. An honorable, sincere moderate who is behind really hasn't a chance against a cynical ideologue who is ahead. Obama simply dissembled at the debates, while McCain's tongue-tied references to Ayers, ACORN, Khalidi, "most liberal senator," etc., sounded unfairly abrupt, even desperate. Maybe they were? To the bitter end, McCain refrained from "bringing Jeremiah Wright into the campaign," even though Hillary had...Why not?
It wouldn't have looked moderate enough.
It’s tough to position yourself a fundamentally different from your opponent, especially on economics, when you’re really not. National security was the major difference that McCain could have tried to capitalize on but the recent economic troubles pushed security off the electorate’s radar of concerns.
Speaking of the economy here is a prediction. If the economy is still in the doldrums (or, more likely, it’s in even worse shape) at the end of his first term the Obamacrats (Obama + the Democrats) will argue that they need another term to fix all of the abuses of Bush’s eight years. In a way they’d be right but for the wrong reasons. Bush was far from an advocate of the free market. One of my earlier posts describes the work of the Fraser Institute which has devised a measure of economic freedom. This index dropped during the Bush era, thus indicating that Bush didn’t drastically deregulate the economy. Of course, that won’t matter to the Obamacrats. To borrow the phrase of one of their heroes, the facts about Bush’s economic legacy are an inconvenient truth.