Is McCain toast?
Somebody commenting in this Ezra Klein blog post about Sam Brownback mentioned that it is still John McCain’s nomination for the taking. I, too, keep thinking “don’t write McCain off” and “it’s still his nomination to lose.” But I’m starting to wonder. Perhaps his age is becoming a factor. The swoon his campaign seems to be undergoing — mostly at the hands of Giuliani — might not be such a back breaker were McCain still, say, in his early 60s. He’s now past 70, though. I don’t know if voters will allow a 72-year old to have a comeback.
It kinda sorta reminds me of Reagan a bit. I’m old enough to have a recollection of the 1980 campaign. Prior to New Hampshire, there was a lot of thinking that Reagan’s time was past (and that he was too extreme, too conservative, too unelectable, etc., etc). Then he came roaring back in New Hamphsire. Thing is, though, Reagan was enormously popular among rank and file Republicans. John McCain isn’t. Moreover, Regan’s calling cards — his advocacy for a stronger national defense and reform of the economy — addressed the two biggest concerns of most Republican primary voters. McCain is mostly known for hawkery. My sense is that even among Republicans, the war in Iraq is not popular.
Unless something significant happens to change the political dynamic soon, I don’t see how John McCain salvages his candidacy.