Last night at our regular edit meeting/wine tasting hour, there was much discussion of McCain and a theory was floated: The man is uncomfortable being anything but the underdog. Too much success and he gets to feeling guilty and uncomfortable. This hypothesis leads to two different predictions, each of which got some support last night:
1) As he continues to flail, he will become more desperate and make increasingly stupid attempts to pander to supporters, even as he is clearly uncomfortable doing so and thus sheds credibility among both would-be supporters and the press.
2) He will continue to slide in the polls, but as soon as it becomes clear that there is no way he can possibly win the nomination, he’ll right himself and unleash a can of that Straight Talk Whoop-Ass on the rest of the field. It will be too little, too late and by then the nomination will be locked up (Thompson-Romney?), but the media will have time to fall in love again and there will be a series of quiet little cookouts at the Arizona ranch and at least one journalist will write a elegiac book. “McCain in Twilight,” perhaps.
I think that there’s still a chance for him to do something besides burn out or fade away, which would be to start being more honest more quickly. A VMI speech that admitted his mistakes and boldly laid out how his thinking on the war now leads him to want to end it would shake things up, redeem him in the eyes of general election voters and maybe give him the energy that thus far his campaign has lacked.
Also, I want a pony.