How was it possible that Senator McCain has lost the election in a few, all be it traumatic, days? For one thing, his support was never deep. Most people who will vote for McCain in November will not be voting for Senator McCain but for the Republican Party or Governor Palin or against Senator Obama or the Democratic Party. Senator McCain is not loved by any of the Republican constituencies, except perhaps the military. They will not vote for the Other, but fewer will vote in 2008 than in 2004. The financial panic forced Senator McCain to assume a posture. He assumed several, but seems to have settled on being a Populist. This is an honorable but losing stance. Senator McCain is between a rock and a hard place as regards the Paulson proposal. He loses votes whichever way he turns. But most important, Americans sensing economic danger will not take a chance on a Maverick in the White House.
Governor Palin can no longer make a difference, though she will continue to help McCain's numbers. A Hockey Mom or Pit Bull with Lipstick is not someone Americans will bet on to save an economy threatened by "investment instruments whose value changes in response to the changes in underlying variables," a.k.a. "financial weapons of mass destruction." A "Palin-McCain administration" is not so attractive to a nation no longer irrationally exuberant. Still, Governor Palin will be a McCain "asset" as long as the country learns no more about her. Her main job for the next seven weeks is to maintain the current fiction.