John McCain isn’t losing because he’s running an incompetent campaign, Michael Gerson writes in the Washington Post. Rather, his campaign only looks incompetent because the economy doomed him to lose. When a campaign is sinking, pundits weigh in with their pet suggestions, while insisting that “the candidate must be himself.” But it doesn’t matter who the candidate is: This campaign ended when the market tanked.
“The diverging political fortunes of Barack Obama and McCain can be traced to a single moment. In the middle of September, the net favorable rating for each candidate was about the same. By Oct. 7, Obama was ahead on this measure by about 16 points.” Economic reality is too much for McCain to overcome, Gerson says, no matter what he does.