For members of Team McCain, it’s time to get up, make some coffee, and go out and just keep plugging away. That includes pointing to this story – “GOP front-runners not wedded to ‘surge’” – and asking why McCain’s rivals aren’t being compared to Dick Lugar.
It’s a sporting effort, and I stand by my earlier assessment that McCain stays in the race until at least Super Duper Tuesday.
Still, waking up this morning and surveying the wreckage, McCain needs just about everything to go right from here on out. He’s not in terrible shape in the polls, but he’s not leading anywhere. Suppose he performs brilliantly in all the remaining debates. Suppose he makes the most of his free media and interview opportunities, and avoids any gaffes. Suppose the immigration issue fades from the headlines, and stops reminding anti-immigration deal voters why they’re angry with McCain. Suppose what’s left of his organization keeps him in the game, and he beats expectations in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Will he be able to pull together something big in the more than dozen states in Super Duper Tuesday? Will he have the money? Will he be able to find people to knock on doors and tell Republican primary voters he’s the best choice? Will he be able to run ads anywhere? Or will this now-operating-on-a-shoestring campaign just not have the resources to compete on so many separate battlefields? If he does enjoy a resurgence, will he have the cash and ad men to effectively respond on an opponent who goes negative? It’s not impossible, but the task looks supremely difficult.
Patrick Ruffini offers the e-mail idea that he thinks could have saved the McCain campaign. I think he depicts a very intriguing road not taken.
By the way, his comments in the Senate yesterday were stark and compelling, perhaps McCain at his finest. (Skip the first four paragraphs of Senate formalities.)