Yes, Romney has superior organization. Yes, he outspent McCain 2-1. Yes, he’s a native son. Yes, weather likely played a factor (how about the irony of global warming-panicked McCain losing voters because of cold, snowy weather?).
But Michigan plays to all McCain’s strengths. He won it over a Romney-esque Bush in 2000 because the state has a large independent vote, plenty of Reagan Democrats ready to cross over, and a primary where only the Republican vote mattered.
Yet, McCain stepped all over himself with a careless, “straight-talking” strategy of telling Michiganians their jobs weren’t coming back. And then he stubbornly stuck to the line despite its obvious damage.
The comment came across as callous and out-of-touch, independents stayed home, and Romney rode it all the way to a nine-point shellacking. Even Huckabee, who had been playing tag team with McCain against Romney, couldn’t resist jabbing at McCain’s defeatism.
Once again, the question is whether McCain likes the sound of his own voice more than winning.