Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I keep reading analyses of John McCain's decision to keep fighting for Pennsylvania, a state where most polls say he's trailing by double digits, instead of concentrating on, say, Virginia and Colorado and New Hampshire, where he's polling better.

Al Giordano thinks he's counting on a late Jeremiah Wright ad blitz to win over the Pennsyltucky part of the state, hoping to build a "McCain comeback" narrative and also to influence other states that might respond to race politics. Chris Bowers thinks he's bailing on states like Colorado and Virginia because early voting in those states dooms him (Pennsylvania doesn't have early voting). MSNBC's First Read notes that Pennsylvania has a lot of old people. Nate Silver thinks the McCain camp might be overreacting to an internal poll in Pennsylvania that's surprisingly good, but is thus an outlier and unreliable.

These are all good theories. But I keep wondering if a big part of McCain's thinking is -- as usual -- pure unadulterated jealous anger.

Consider the pattern: Obama announced in mid-June that he planned to go to Iraq and Afghanistan? McCain announced a week later that he planned to visit Latin America. Obama planned a convention acceptance speech in a football stadium? McCain decided to hijack the news cycle by announcing his VP pick the next day, doing so in, yes, a sports arena. Obama was a fresh face with limited Washington experience who won the nomination and consistently beat McCain in the polls? McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Right now, Obama is ahead of McCain in a number of Bush states -- and maybe McCain is less interested in wresting those states back than in saying, "Oh yeah? Well, I'm going to fight you in a blue state! So there!" Maybe there's less strategic thinking going on than we think -- maybe it's all gut.

Just a hunch.

No comments: