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Throughout the general election season, I have been witness to just about every Republican excuse for failure and crackpot reason for hating Obama that can possibly be made:

  1. Obama reversed course on public financing
  1. Obama has the support of the media (except Fox News, of course)
  1. Obama wasn't born in America (See the reactionary, radical Right-wing lunatic fringe on this one. Even Neal Boortz debunks this lunacy)
  1. Obama has 'radical' associations (because Rev. Hagee, Charles Keating, and domestic terrorist/Fox News employee and host Oliver North aren't radical associations - as long as you're a Republican)
  1. Obama is a "socialist", "communist", or "Marxist" (all because he wants to restore the same equity and prosperity for all classes that propelled America to the greatest economic expansion in the history of our country. Those of us in the working class who lived and prospered through the 1990s do not see that time quite the same as conservatives do)


Two McCain volunteers stare at an empty office in Troy, OH. In neighboring Indiana, another battleground state, McCain has ZERO campaign offices and has not made a single campaign stop

You know what they say about excuses. They are like a**holes - everybody has one. The only problem with all these excuses for failure submitted on McCain's behalf is the excuse that Right-wingers are leaving off the list, which will be added as excuse #6:

When he had the chance to lay the foundation for a ground game to compete with Barack Obama, McCain sat on his hands

There you have it, Republicans. For every whining, complaining, delusional excuse offered for the failure of your candidate to push ahead of his Democratic Party opponent, the blame for his inability to mount anything that resembles a ground game in ANY battleground state is McCain's - and McCain's alone.

Consider, as an example, McCain's lack of organization in Ohio and my home state of Indiana. Back on October 11, we reported Nate Silver's account of what he uncovered on the ground in Troy, Oh:

We tried to go to the McCain office just down the street in Troy at noon on Saturday. At the exact moment we arrived, we found two nice elderly women peering inside the locked, closed office. They'd come to volunteer. Unfortunately, McCain's Troy office isn't open on weekends, according to a sign in the window.

24 days til the election.

We also reported Nate's account of the Obama office in that same Ohio town:

The first thing that stands out about the Troy, Ohio Obama field office is its placement. It's right in the heart of town. It catches everyone's attention -- you can't miss it.

The next thing that caught our attention was that, since the office had first opened, 800 different people from Miami County had come through the office's doors to volunteer. There were only 51,760 voters in the entire county in 2004, and a mere 17,606 were Kerry voters. As of the writing of that article, 4.5% of the entire Miami County Kerry vote had walked in the doors to volunteer for Obama.

It wasn't enough that McCain had failed to institute a sufficient ground game to compete in a state as important to his election as Ohio (where Obama now leads by six points according to nearly every state poll there). His failure to open even a single office or campaign in my home state of Indiana turned a once-friendly solid Red state against him. His negative campaign and slimy Johnny-come-lately personal attacks were launched in direct conflict with a more popular Republican, current (and likely to be re-elected) Governor Mitch Daniels.

Daniels has led here by more than double-digits for most of the campaign. However, rather than sit on what some thought would be certain re-election, Daniels launched a relentless radio and television ad campaign that focused very little on his Democratic and Libertarian opponents and more on his economic accomplishments and vision for the state. I cannot remember a single instance when Governor Daniels has spoken with or about John McCain during the general election season. Could this be because Daniels sees McCain's appalling lack of attention to his state and the uselessness of negative attacks in a state where the economy reigns supreme?

This disjointed campaign and nonexistent ground game of McCain's is not limited to Ohio and Indiana. In every Red battleground state - NV, IA, NM, MO, FL, VA, NC, and CO - McCain is fighting for his life to combat Barack Obama's superior organization leading up to Election Day. Most attribute this to Obama's lengthy primary battle with an opponent as strong and considerable as Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) - and to be certain, Obama was forced in many respects to initiate his organization during that long and contentious campaign. But McCain's failure to take advantage of his early presumptive nomination (which occurred in March - a full eight months before Election Day) and the three month head start he had to work toward getting settled on the ground not only wasted valuable time that he could acclimate himself with the electorate and those he meant to pull into his column, but it gave his opponent the opportunity to draft staffers and volunteers, set up offices, and re-draw the electoral map in a way that made victory a long-shot proposition for McCain.

And let's be honest here: McCain was arrogantly banking on traditional Republican states like NC, VA, IN, and FL being in his column with little or no (see IN) effort on his part. He never imagined that his opponent, a relatively new Democratic Senator with less than four years in the Senate, could possibly generate the amount of support, excitement, and organization that would ultimately suffocate his campaign. For all the excuses that Republicans have offered for McCain's likely demise on November 4, they would do well to remember that the single most viable explanation for his inability to compete on the ground was McCain's own political incompetence and arrogance - with a little help from the most dynamic and articulate candidate ever to step on stage in a presidential election: Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

Originally posted to Democratic Tribune on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:06 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  McCain lost this race due to a thousand (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timaeus, elsie886, dotsright

      (mostly) self-inflicted cuts.

      1. Did squat with the months and months he had during the primary when he was unopposed and the Dems where fighting a civil war.
      1. Limited himself to public financing
      1. Poor set up of ground game
      1. Poor long-term VP pick

           a. Poor for ticket
           b. poor for long term health of republican party

      1. Inconsistent campaign message/s
      1. "Economy is fundamentally sound"
      1. Got pwned on foreign policy debate, his "strong point".
      1. Got pwned on Town Hall style debate, his "strong point".
      1. Lost the Latino vote
      1. Unable to keep his VP pick on target
      1. VP pick more popular than him with the base


      And because he faced a strong, organized challenger.

      "Biden's tears did more for the equality Of the sexes than Palin's presence" - Leah Renna

      by edgeways on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:21:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please, no past tense. Not LOST yet. We need to (0+ / 0-)

        keep running as if we are 10 points down.

        Sprint to the finish line.

        Knock every door.  Call every phone.  Drive every reluctant voter to the polls.

        EVERYONE needs to give time from today through Tuesday evening.  Call from home.  Walk doors if you can.  Drive if you can.  Bring home-made goodies or snacks to your local GOTV center.  Watch a poll.  Stand at your favorite store or local train station with leaflets.

        Just think what happens if all 3,000,000 plus of us who own this campaign can convince one more reluctant voter between now and Tuesday.

        No, do NOT talk about this race in the past tense.  It ain't over til its over.

        •  darn right....Patton offensive! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          by Democratic Tribune on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 07:11:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  See I don't buy into acting like we are (0+ / 0-)

          losing. I can walk and chew gum at the same time, to borrow from earlier in this election cycle, I can believe we are winning and race towards the finish line at the same time because I don't want them to catch up.

          I'm tired and dispirited by the denial of winning.

          "Biden's tears did more for the equality Of the sexes than Palin's presence" - Leah Renna

          by edgeways on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 07:17:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is NOT acting like we are losing, but running (0+ / 0-)

            full-tilt to the finish line.

            GOTV has been a huge part of Team Obama strategy from day one.  Some GOTV coordinators are seeing an increase of "no show" volunteers.  Labeling this race as past-tense causes too many potential volunteers to say "why bother," so I say "Sprint to the finish."

            So the previous post is fine with me.  

            Run like you are ahead, but still looking for every possible + vote so the other guys won't catch up.  Fine.  Just not in the past-tense please.

      •  true, but only so much room in a diary :) (0+ / 0-)

        by Democratic Tribune on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 07:12:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  you mean "tips for us" (0+ / 0-)

      because WE are his ground game!!

      Every time a Republican is convicted, an angels gets its wings.

      by AlyoshaKaramazov on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:43:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wow- McCain has NEVER appeared in Indiana? (0+ / 0-)

      You'd think once the polls got tight, he could have bagged ONE of his multitude of useless Pennsylvania or Iowa appearances and done a rally in Indianapolis or Fort Wayne.

      We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14:

      by anastasia p on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:44:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, lineatus

    I think that IF McCain loses (let's not be presumptuous), his inactivity while Hillary and Obama were still going to war with each other will be the first of many, many missteps he and his campaign took.

    Shit, you could do a whole series of very in-depth diaries on that.

    "It's embarrassing when you try to overthrow the government and you wind up on the best sellers list."--Abbie Hoffman

    by ekthesy on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:08:47 AM PDT

  •  being part of Obama's ground game is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, Dar Nirron, redsoxnation

    a great way to battle the "our nation is failing" anxiety and -- something I never expected:

    FUN !

    I especially like the Kids Korner in my local office where the kids make awesome signs and we hang them in the windows.

    4 Days. because we are, like, so over the politics of fear, hate, greed and lies.

    by NamelessGenXer on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:12:55 AM PDT

  •  Arrogance for sure, and the root (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arkylib, climateguy84

    of it is thinking in 20th century terms.  McCain's people believed--as the candidate himself did--that he could rely on the old stuff: big Republican dollars, the press completely on his side, smear tactics, and the "permanent Republican majority" built by his buddy Karl Rove.  Obama saw that we were in a different century, a different world, with different tools at our disposal.  He completely overwhelmed the GOP with his movement building, his use of contemporary communications tools, and--it must be said--his youthful energy and smarts.  By the time the McCain camp realized that they were behind it was far too late to fix it.  Smears, lies and voter suppression are all they have left.

    McCain/Palin: Ticket to Nowhere

    by SottoVoce on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:14:20 AM PDT

  •  I remember where I was when... (2+ / 0-)

    McBush picked an unknown Governor from AK...I was with the parent of childhood friends of mine who is a RW Republican...he said that Palin was going to change this race and he was all excited...I told him it would not work because Hillary supporters would not fall for a RW Anti-choice zealot even if she is a woman...

    But he was right it would change the race...that is when McBush lost this race...

    Obama/Biden'08 Winning Change for America and the Democratic Party

    by dvogel001 on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:15:18 AM PDT

  •  I think there were many (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sodalis, redsoxnation

    moments.  One of them was the hiring of Steve Schmidt which was when the campaign went for the mud.

    -- Hope is the adrenaline of the mind. --

    by Druid800 on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:16:47 AM PDT

  •  someone should have taken the two ladies to Obama (0+ / 0-)

    there they would have found things to do. McSame made the same mistakes HRC did. They took things for granted. Meanwhile Obama built up leads state by state and when McSame finally realized that it was way too late in the game.

  •  McCain's Indiana Office (0+ / 0-)

    Indiana Republican Party
    47 South Meridian Street, 2nd Floor
    Indianapolis, IN 46204
    McCain Campaign Phone: 317-964-5042
    Email Indiana staff at

    I thought you were joking. It appears McCain is the one who's joking, or just a joke.

    McCain has made 3 campaign appearances in Indiana since Jan 07.

    Obama has made 32.

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:27:56 AM PDT

  •  he lost it aug/sept 2005 during Hurricane Katrina (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but specifically, he lost the moment he didn't have a good answer for the number of houses he owned. the 'celebrity/elitist' argument was consistent and gaining a bit of traction, but then obama flipped it on him. ENTER biden > dnc > palin > rnc > economic meltdown > trainwreck SCENE

  •  Palin, then "suspending" for the economic crisis (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    those are the two chutes that sent him back. (small child so I play chutes and ladders!)

  •  McCain hasn't lost yet and (0+ / 0-)

    he didn't concentrate on the ground game because he expected the country to split up evenly between the two candidates as happened in 2000 and 2004, and all that would remain to be done for McCain to win was to 'steal' one state (as happened in 2000 and 2004).

    That can still happen.

    •  gonna be hard to steal (0+ / 0-)

      too many states in play now. and if they (GOP) lose anyway, an obama DOJ will come after them. so it gets much harder to get guys to hack the machines and whatever else they do, with much more likelihood of prosecution.

      that's what i tell myself, anyway. i hope i hope i hope hope hope!!!

      i also think mccain fully expected Hillary to be his opponent and neither she nor he ever saw Obama coming. Had Hillary been the dem candidate, i imagine mccain would have picked someone else for vp.

      Proudly wearing a tin-foil hat since 1972.

      by pissed off hippie on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:50:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah agreed, Obama has put so many states (0+ / 0-)

        in play that it is much more difficult to 'steal' any one and prevail now. Agree also that McCain expected Hillary to be his opponent and both got outplayed by Obama's superior planning and organization.  So there is plenty of reason to hope :).

        Many of McCain's self-goals along the way were his own mistakes in coping with such a strong opponent(not a good indicator of how he will deal with crises if he ever gets to govern).

  •  It's true that McCain wasted about 4 months (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    while Obama was still fighting with Hillary.

    Someone must have convinced McCain that it would be a cakewalk.  All he did was throw a few pot-shots at Obama.  None of them stuck.  It was only when he hired Steve Schmidt that things got ugly efficient.

    Then, in the midst of McCain's tenuous, and short, one week lead, his campaign imploded in response to a real-time crisis.  It wasn't the economy that cemented Obama's chances.  it was the two campaigns' REACTION to the crisis.

    Bill Clinton calls the campaign an "interview."  

    I see it more as an "audition."   America says, "show us what you got!"  And both Candidates did.

    McCain ain't got nothin'.  Not even a VP.

    Every time a Republican is convicted, an angels gets its wings.

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:42:46 AM PDT

  •  Charm gets you only so far. (0+ / 0-)
  •  McCain not opening any offices in Indiana (0+ / 0-)

    would be like Obama not opening any offices in Minnesota.

    "No way, no how, no McCain." Hillary Clinton, 8-27-08

    by Christian Dem in NC on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:51:47 AM PDT

  •  McCain expected "liberators" greeting in Redstate (0+ / 0-)

    Part of the problem is also the national party. McCain was in some ways an insurgent candidate running against Romney and Grandpa Fred whom the GOP establishment favored until they were stuck with McCain.

    The McCain campaign has made so many tactical errors that they make the Kerry campaign seem as if it were disciplined. However, the lack of funding for McCain which forced him to borrow money and agree on said loan to use matching funds handcuffed McCain as much as the failure to do anything between March and June. The fact that BHO and HRC had perhaps the closest race ever in the Democratic primaries was a huge benefit to the Obama campaign. Many bloggers noted this which was completely the opposite of all those inept DC pundits that kept saying this would hurt the Democratic Party.

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

    Bush has already shown what it is like to have a leader that doesn't know how to plan ahead.  Republicans are all window dressing with an empty store behind it.  They don't know how to plan and their first reactions in a crisis are always wrong.  For the past 8 years we have had constant do-overs and re-writings of history.  From Bush's reading of My Pet Goat in the aftermath of terrorist attacks to the farce of occupied Iraq to the complete lack of response to the Katrina disaster to the final straw, being surprised by the current economic crisis, Republicans have been shown to be incompetent and unprepared to govern.  How anyone could vote for McCain is beyond me.

  •  McCain always "wings it" (0+ / 0-)

    His unvetted choice of Palin, his scattershot policies and inability to stay on message -- deep in his soul, he's still a flyboy, improvising as he goes.  Not a good temperament for the presidency.

    When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross -- Sinclair Lewis

    by TKwow on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 07:10:25 AM PDT

  •  McCain (0+ / 0-)

    Sorry, but the 90's were not the greatest economic expansion in our country's history.  Many other periods were better for everybody, including the working class, who were particularly left out in the 90's.

    Hopefully Obama will do better than Bill Clinton did.

  •  I work in the Troy, OH office that Nate visited. (0+ / 0-)

    Passing the Repub office, it actually has been open around 5-6 pm a couple nights with one person inside.

    Meanwhile, the Obama office has dozens of volunteers daily.  

    This 2:1 Bush county COULD VERY WELL go blue, but even if it does not, we will get significantly closer than we did 4 years ago.  

  •  McCain lost this... (0+ / 0-)

    ...the instant he said "let's go with it" and nominated Sarah Palin as his running mate. It slammed the door shut on any opportunity open minded centrists and moderate Democrats may have had to consider a John McCain vote, either due to Clinton sympathy or an aversion to Obama (including racism). Once Palin became a "known quantity" and an irresponsible choice, the game was up.

    Coincidentally, John McCain has never led a national poll since the Katie Couric interviews. Not a one.

    Game. Set. Match.

  •  Obama is going to win Indiana (0+ / 0-)

    I went to a wedding in Columbus, IN last weekend and then drove through north central Indiana to the town that I grew up in near Marion, IN.  I was stuck by one thing... the LACK of McCain signs and bumper stickers.  These are areas that McCain should be crushing Obama in and I saw more Obama stickers, signs, buttons, etc., by far, than I did McCain stuff.  Obviously signs and stickers don't vote, but it just shows the lack of enthusiasm for McCain.

    I have a theory that in places like Indiana, there could be a substantial reverse Bradley effect.  There are a lot of folks from my home town who would never want their neighbors to know that they voted for Obama, but who, in the privacy of the voting booth, might just hold their nose, say a little prayer and mark down Obama.

  •  The Alien Controller Theory (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe alien slug creatures (or the like) really have taken over Republican party leaders, including McCain, and the miserable campaign McCain has run is a sign that he has engaged in a heroic battle to shaft the alien slug creatures and avoid letting them get him into the White House.

    OK, I know that there's a 99.99999 percent likelihood that that's not the case, but Dubya's presidency and McCain's campaign have been so weird that it's tempting to wondering about supernatural and extraterrestrial explanations. I'd rather think that Dubya, for example, is being ruled by slugs than that he'd make such idiotic decisions of his own free will.

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