Is the Race Over?

The media has written off John McCain. With national polling showing Obama comfortably in the lead, reporters have their narrative. The election night stories are probably written with only two blanks to fill in for the popular vote percentage and the electoral count.

Conservatives are likewise glum. Recriminations abound. McCain shouldn't have chosen Sarah Palin. Or he should have used her more. He should never have brought up Bill Ayers and the other sleazy associates. Or he should have done it earlier. Current and former McCain advisers are feuding openly and on the record, suggesting some are disloyal and the others are incompetent.

The only thing which virtually all observers can agree upon: McCain needed a better-defined economic message earlier in the campaign and a less frenetic response to the financial crisis. Well, that's all coulda, shoulda, woulda stuff now.

The question remains what, if anything, McCain can do now. It seems his task is to convince voters, millions of whom have already made up their minds to vote for his opponent, that an Obama presidency would pose grave dangers, domestic and foreign.

In this effort he has two Joes, a Nancy, and a Harry to help him.

Joe the Plumber of course has given McCain his economic message. Joe pulled back the curtain on Obama's infatuation with a redistributionist economic policy, one which relies on high taxes and massive spending. McCain must hammer home that this is re-warmed 1960s-style liberalism and the very formula most likely to prolong our financial ills. And he would do well to explain that there's no possible way for Obama to tax merely the "rich" and pay for all his plans. In an Obama administration, not just small businessmen, but many very middle class blue and white collar workers, are going to have their taxes raised in order pick up the tab for vast new domestic spending.

The other Joe has provided a second opening. Joe Biden declared that not only will Obama's election invite international challenge, but that "it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right." Well, precisely. National security has been pushed to the side during the financial crisis, but McCain now must remind voters of just how dangerous a world it can be and just how problematic many of Obama's declared positions would have been had Obama been in the Oval Office (e.g., an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq, unconditional talks with Ahmadinejad, an initial reaction of moral equivalence when Russia invaded Georgia). It is not just that Biden's comment is predictive; it is that it is descriptive of Obama's past track record. In short, it is apparent that Obama's gotten virtually nothing right.

Both McCain and Palin have latched onto this and continue to hammer home the point: Obama cannot be trusted as commander-in-chief. The media is not interested in covering this, of course. But the McCain-Palin ticket has learned -- finally -- to pound and pound away, trying to force the MSM to cover their message.