McCain’s 45% Ceiling

Despite all things, I still feel pretty confident about who will win in the fall.  Yes, the Democrats may be locked in mortal combat, and yes, McCain does seem to have consolidated his base and gotten his party to rally aroundhim.  And yet, he’s still not polling where he ought to be.

Ross Douthat notes this when he observes that even with everything going for him, McCain can’t break through what seems to be a 45% ceiling in the polls.

A few weeks ago, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd had said that McCain’s suffering because of the Democratic primary, that he will do better if the Democratic nominee is picked sooner or later.  There may be some truth to this, but there’s more compelling evidence for Douthat’s point than Todd’s.

Yes, the Democratic primary may be hogging up all the attention, but in a primary where negativity is dragging down both contenders, McCain should be able to rack up some huge positives that just aren’t coming.  Also true that perhaps McCain is suffering from being outnumbered two to one, without a solid target to swing against, but this is refuted by the fact that he has focused most of his attacks on Barack Obama, and left Hillary pretty much to her own devices.

And then there’s the issue of fundraising.  He’s simply not doing it.  In the face of a liberal minority poised to take the nomination, McCain’s coffers should be positively brimming, but instead he’s scraping the barrel.  If fundraising is a solid early indicator to later performance, McCain’s in a big ol’ heap of do-do.

But what I think bodes worst for McCain is the fact that he’s struggling against both Democratic contenders, and he isn’t even in the crosshairs yet.  Clinton and Obama are focusing intensely upon each other at this moment (though, as I’ve written earlier this evening, I do hope that Obama shifts focus very soon), and at least a good chunk of the party is locked in surrogate wars on their behalf.

Indeed, the Democratic party’s so far few and far between assaults of McCain are little more than rehashed attacks at Bush. This is all well and good, don’t get me wrong.  Tying McCain to Bush is integral to beating him, I’m sure.  But on the other hand, this indicates a lack of energy and creativity thus far in custom making a battle plan against the current Republican nominee.  That’s to say, there’s going to have to be more depth in our approach than merely, “McCain is a third term of Bush.”

In any case, the attacks on McCain are for the most part light and infrequent, while Obama and Clinton both are under heavy fire from each other, the media, and McCain.  While many possible controversies regarding McCain are getting glanced over, every tiny bit of minutiae is getting blown up to cataclysmic proportions in the Democratic race.

And he still can’t beat them.

All I have to say is wait until he has to face a unified Democratic party, a charismatic, gifted, and intelligent nominee, and a grassroots/netroots organization that has been able to raise more money, knock on more doors, and register more new voters than we’ve ever seen before.  I mean, think about that, the Democratic candidates alone, months before election day in November, have raised more money than anyone has throughout the course of an entire campaign.

And we’re doing this deeply wounded and embittered.  Wait until this operation is fully functional and focused on John McCain.  There may still be challenges up ahead, but I have a feeling that what we have before us will be a thing of beauty.


One Response to “McCain’s 45% Ceiling”

  1. Pug says:

    In any case, the attacks on McCain are for the most part light and infrequent, while Obama and Clinton both are under heavy fire from each other, the media, and McCain.

    I’d have to disagree with this slightly. Obama and Clinton are not both under heavy fire from McCain. McCain has laid off Hillary Clinton, as you mentioned earlier. Right now Obama is the one struggling in a three-on-one fight. That would be Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. The media hasn’t exactly been treating him with kid gloves, either.

    In the end, I do think this will be a net plus for Obama. If he can hang in against this bunch, he’s got to be a pretty tough customer. At the same time, he doesn’t come off as a mud wrestler like the Clintons.

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