No journalist likes a predictable landslide -- that's a dull story. SO the press has a self-interest in maintaining the idea that an election is competitive.
Time takes on this question and concludes:
Oh, let's just admit it: John McCain is a long shot. He's got a heroic personal story, and being white has never hurt a presidential candidate, but on paper 2008 just doesn't look like his year. And considering what's happening off paper, it might be time to ask the question the horse-race-loving media are never supposed to ask: Is McCain a no-shot?
Another thing you're not supposed to talk about is age. But that could be decisive. As a down-ballot candidate in 1996, after I knocked on a few thousand doors I came to the conclusion that the presidential race could be summed up in four words: "Bob Dole's too old." (Of course, I lost to a much older opponent, so the idea is not in and of itself decisive.)
Politico looks at the series of Czechoslovakia and Steelers vs. Packers oopses and more or less calls them senior moments:
McCain will turn 72 the day after Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) accepts his party’s nomination for president at the age of 47, calling new attention to the sensitive issue of McCain’s advanced age three days before the start of his own convention.
Anyone can make a verbal slip up; just yesterday Obama said Israel was a strong ally of Israel. But when a verbal mistake falls into a pattern and reinforces a preconcieved image, that's a hard problem to shake. The classic example, of course, is Dan Quayle and potatoe. But McCain's Czechoslovakia slips are more reminiscent of Bob Dole's reference to the Brooklyn Dodgers, in casting an image of a geezer who's behind the times.
My sense of humor is bipartisan and this cartoon was an LOL for me.
Cross two names off the VP shortlists? Alaska governor Sarah Palin is in trouble for a vendetta. Seems her sister is in a nasty divorce, the husband is a state trooper, and Palin supposedly used her clout to try to get the guy fired. That cuts to the heart of her reformer, clean up state government and the GOP image.
This could have a ripple effect into Alaska's House and Senate races, where longtime incumbents Don Young and Ted Stevens are in trouble. Kos himself writes: "Palin was considered the fallback candidate in case Stevens got indicted. She no longer looks so hot." I think Markos is trying to be funny here, as Palin is considered attractive by many. Which I think is more a matter of the lack of relatively young women in elective office. It's the opposite of the movies, where you have to be stunningly beautiful by normal world standards to play the Plain Jane best friend supporting role opposite the uber-starlet. A small town pageant winner like Palin wouldn't even get noticed in Hollywood. What's the old saying: "Washington is Hollywood for ugly people"?
Kos continues: "Nor can she be an asset for Stevens, Young, or any other Republican up and down the ballot in her state. Alaska's most popular Republican has essentially been neutralized."
John Edwards is considered a handsome feller by DC standards. You've probably heard the Edwards girlfriend and love child story. It is, of course, the National Enquirer... which will still give the mainstream press the excuse to 1) run it and 2) endlessly navel gaze about whether or not they should run it. Which reminds me of just how much I miss seeing the Weekly World News at the checkout line. There's a serious void in Space Alien, Bat Boy and Elvis coverage.
This, too, if true -- I mean Edwards, not Bat Boy -- cuts to the core of the image. John leaves his ailing wife for a younger woman... oops, that's John McCain.
Still, the Edwards allegation of girlfriend and baby falls short of the trifecta set by New York congressman Vito Fosella: drunk driving... to the girlfriend's house... AND a baby.