Campaigns/Elections

Is McCain Still in the Game? Does He Need a Hail Mary? Marshall McLuhan Has Answers, Dammit! (Though To Questions Far More Interesting Than Those Ones)

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Pollster Scott Rasmussen says that Sen. John McCain needs a Hail Mary play to win the election:

"John McCain probably needs an outside event to win the White House," pollster Scott Rasmussen told the Herald. "He's a little bit like a football team in the fourth quarter, down by a couple of touchdowns. You can't make it all up in one play. And you still need a break or two."

More here.

Pollster John Zogby says the election "can still break either way":

"I don't think Obama has closed the deal yet," pollster John Zogby told the Herald yesterday.

Zogby's latest poll, released yesterday in conjunction with C-Span and Reuters, shows Obama and John McCain in a statistical dead heat, with the Illinois Democrat up 48-45 percent.

More here.

This much seems certain: Whoever wins, "Free Minds and Free Markets" lose, as is clear from our for-you-viewing-pleasure 63-second condensation of Tuesday's debate:

And speaking of Tuesday's debate, here's a YouTube clip of media theorist Marshall McLuhan appearing on the Today show in 1976 to comment on the debates between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Hosting the Today show? One Tom Brokaw, who seemed every bit as perplexed by complex thought and the English language as he does today (Edwin Newman, NBC's resident egghead, is also there). It's a really interesting clip, I think, especially because it shows how little has changed in the staging of political spectacle.

In many ways, McLuhan's criticisms of the debate format are more relevant now than ever given that we live in a radically deconstructed media environment. Phoney-baloney pseudo-events such as the presidential debates are even more self-evidently agitprop for, well, phoney-baloney pseudo-events. (Note: The technical difficulties that Brokaw, Newman, and McLuhan refer to resulted in a 27-minute delay during which moderater Harry Reasoner "vamped" while the candidates stood like wooden puppets at their podiums.)

NEXT: Friday Funnies

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  1. Coffee is for Closers!

  2. Hmm, “Obama hasn’t closed the deal, Obama hasn’t closed the deal;” where have I heard that before?

  3. Is Zogby ever remotely on the same page with other pollsters?

  4. For some reason, despite the existence of the internet, the news media wants to pay telephone pollsters to disrupt my suppertime while at the same time refusing to notice a marketplace, complete with prices. In addition to being more accurate than a measurement which only measures those stupid enough to accept suppertime disruption, the prices on this market cost them NOTHING to publish, and they’ve been around for YEARS.

    I’ve been watching this market, and relaying its prices, for years. I’ve never seen anything as lopsided as this year, though. The one to six these people would win with an Obama victory is BEFORE taxes, which are substantial enough to make all Obama bets look like a risky loan to the bookies with a moderately-attractive interest rate. Part of that lopsided spread could be residual European anti-Bush sentiment, but this isn’t — and can’t be — all about Bush. It’s about money, and people would happily bet on Satan/Stalin/Hitler if they really think he’s going to win. The money really thinks Obama’s going to win.

  5. October Surprise! October Suprise! Wait, it’s like 1/3 through October. McCain better bust out his “I hate whitey” tapes soon.

    I am starting to agree with those who believe that if McCain had been a MAVRICK against the bailout, he’d be heading for victory. What a blunder. Now all he has to do to really fuck up is go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

  6. Come on! You can’t tell me anyone believes the special pleading done by the likes of Zogby at this point.

    Does anyone with two brain cells still believe this election is close?

    I hate McCain more than…just about anyone, but even I am starting to get concerned that he’s going to lose by too much.

    Even I don’t want Obama to win so huge that the Democrat coattails stack the Congress with progressives in such a way that we turn into Sweden.

    But that looks like the inevitable outcome now, unless Obama rapes a white Boy Scout during that half hour of network time he bought for himself.

    I think that the ludicrous KOS tracking poll is closer to accurate than Zogby’s prediction at this point. That doesn’t say a lot for Zogby.

  7. I hate McCain more than…just about anyone, but even I am starting to get concerned that he’s going to lose by too much.

    I don’t think that will happen, Fluffy. There are too many party-line voters out there.

  8. Until that clip, I didn’t realize how much I miss Edwin Newman. I grew up watching him on NBC and always thought he was the only newscaster who “got it.”

    I was cynical, even as a kid.

  9. This much seems certain: Whoever wins, “Free Minds and Free Markets” lose

    True, the choice is between a beating and a massacre.

    Gotta hand it to the the Dems — they get Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make loans to people who can’t repay them in the name of “social justice,” then profit from the resulting mass panic when the loan scheme collapses.

    Must be nice to have the media in your pocket.

    And the best part is, we’ll get protectionism and massive government intervention from the newly empowered Dems — a repeat of those same policies that made the Great Depression so much longer and more painful.

  10. Thanks for reminding me what a total moron Marshall McLuhan was.

  11. Gotta hand it to the the Dems — they get Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make loans to people who can’t repay them in the name of “social justice,” then profit from the resulting mass panic when the loan scheme collapses.

    Would have been harder for them to pull off if the Repubs hadn’t tried to take “credit” for the short-term results of the Fannie/Freddie largesse (cf. the “Ownership Society”).

  12. Brian24,

    Do you think that there is any linkage between the response to 9/11 (and previous emergencies) and the response to our current economic woes? That what has happened is a ratcheting up of expectations by the public of what the government can do? If so, might any increased propensity for government intervention be in part on of the consequences of the war in Iraq?

  13. Yes, the Dems did get Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make loans to people who ended up not being able to repay them, but the Republicans bear quite a bit of responsibility for deregulation of the banking industry, lower wages for the working and middle class, and the rise of unemployment that resulted in those people not being able to make their mortgage payments. Neither party is blame-free, but as I see it, enabling more people to buy homes is a good thing for the economy, and wouldn’t have caused a problem if the Republicans hadn’t contributed their part.

  14. Expect the October Surprise to be something out of left field. I was at a dinner party a month ago with a bunch of political scientists, most of whom were speculating that what was going on in the Pakistan border area was an all-out effort to find Osama bin Laden. If they can pull that off, that would be about the only thing that could save McCain’s bacon (excuse the expression).

    Meanwhile Bush and Paulson are busy remaking the US into Sweden all by themselves. And I’m already seeing predictions (on CNN’s website) that this may turn into a Democratic rout–over 60 Senate seats, majority in the House and the White House–a ‘perfect storm’.

    We’re screwed. Of course, with the current incumbent, and McCain as his ‘successor’ we’re probably not much better off with that gang.
    Argghhhh.

    I never thought I’d wonder whether things could actually get bad for myself and other folks in my situation. Now, as I opened my retirement and investment statements this week I’m feeling a tiny bit anxious about my future. Not just rhetorically.

  15. TallDave,

    Gotta hand it to the the Dems — they get Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make loans to people who can’t repay them in the name of “social justice,” then profit from the resulting mass panic when the loan scheme collapses.

    The Republicans were what, in control of the Congress and the Presidency for five years during this decade?

  16. Capturing Osama bin Laden by the Pakistani border wouldn’t even work, because Obama has staked himself out as the candidate more attentive to that area, who wants to make such efforts the central plank of his anti-terror program.

    Last night, I saw footage of Obama talking about how we need steady, reliable leadership in these challenging times. You know, like the world’s luckiest Chicago Alderman.

    He wasn’t even selling himself as that – he was talking as if it was just assumed that he won that contest, and was trying to draw people’s attention to it.

    How the hell did John McCain manage to cede that territory to Barack Obama?

  17. Republicans bear quite a bit of responsibility for … the rise of unemployment

    Please explain.

  18. Oh, good. It looks like the Republicans are going to spend the next few years telling themselves they would have won except for the mortgage meltdown, just like the spent the last two years telling themselves they would have won in 2006 except for Mark Foley and scandals.

    Excellent.

  19. Osama bin Laden has been dead for years.

  20. let me see obmama is better then u need to come up with some more ideas because me and my friends want obmama for prensdent

  21. Is Zogby ever remotely on the same page with other pollsters?

    Is Zogby ever remotely right? Bill Kristol looks at Zogby’s prediction record to feel better about himself.

    I was at a dinner party a month ago with a bunch of political scientists, most of whom were speculating that what was going on in the Pakistan border area was an all-out effort to find Osama bin Laden.

    Wouldn’t Obama just say, “See, I told you we should’ve been looking in the Pakistani border for OBL.” The only way for a capture of OBL to help McCain is if Special Forces did a covert incursion into Iran and found him there. Preferably while dining with Ahmadinejad and Khamenei.

    Gotta hand it to the the Dems — they get Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make loans to people who can’t repay them in the name of “social justice,” then profit from the resulting mass panic when the loan scheme collapses.

    Right. Because house flippers are poor and the Democrats forced Moody’s and S&P to give bad loans AAA ratings and told investment banks to slice, dice and make completely unintelligible MBSes for resale that the real problem of the current credit crunch.

    People that say this is all Fannie and Freddie’s fault have a very limited idea of what the real problem is. If it was only a Fannie and Freddie problem, bailing those two out would have largely solved the problem. The issue is that the problems run significantly deeper.

  22. Oh, good. It looks like the Republicans are going to spend the next few years telling themselves they would have won except for the mortgage meltdown, just like the spent the last two years telling themselves they would have won in 2006 except for Mark Foley and scandals.

    Or the Dems in 2004 (Diebold!) and 2000 (Florida!). I forget what the 2002 excuse was. Political parties rarely admit that they screwed the pooch in platform, performance or candidate.

    Hindsight being 20/20, Romney was the only GOP candidate who might have prevailed. The performance and platform stumbling blocks would still be there though.

  23. Hmm, “Obama hasn’t closed the deal, Obama hasn’t closed the deal;” where have I heard that before?

    I believe it was when Hillary was kicking his ass in the late primaries. It was too little, too late, but it did show he pretty much peaked sometime in, what, April?

    Wouldn’t Obama just say, “See, I told you we should’ve been looking in the Pakistani border for OBL.”

    Like that isn’t what everybody has been saying since, I dunno, early 2002.

  24. How quickly people forget.

    Everybody knew in February that there was a string of contests in March and April in states that were favorable to Obama, followed by a string of contests that were favorable to Clinton. It was all over the talk shows, it was discussed extensively on these very threads.

    And then, when things actually happened that way, everybody forgot about that. OMG, Obama won a bunch of contets in a row! He’s got momentum! OMG, Hillary won Ohio and Pennsylvania, things really changed in this race, she’s got the momentum!

    Go back and look at the national polling numbers for Obama/Clinton in May and June, RC. Obama was beating Clinton by a larger margin during that period than he was in April.

  25. Or the Dems in 2004 (Diebold!) and 2000 (Florida!).

    The Democrats won the vote in 2000, J sub. Tough to argue that the more-popular party was making excuses.

    I forget what the 2002 excuse was. You’re kidding, right?

  26. Like that isn’t what everybody has been saying since, I dunno, early 2002.

    Except McCain, who thinks it would be irresponsible to attack an ally.

    I forget what the 2002 excuse was.

    I’ll give you a hint, it’s every 5th word out of Rudy Giuliani’s mouth.

  27. In all my years as votng I have never been polled! Who are these people who are polled?? I don’t even have a friend or a “neighbor on my street” that has been polled! I think Mccain will do just fine if we can stop the voter fraud. Mccain is a known. Obama is a scary unknown. We do not want to be a socialist country.

  28. The Democrats won the vote in 2000, J sub. Tough to argue that the more-popular party was making excuses.

    If only the popular vote determined who wins an election. Hillary thinks it should.

  29. …or if your point is about the popularity of a party’s message. Which it was.

  30. …or if your point is about the popularity of a party’s message. Which it was.

    Isn’t eight years enough time to get over the fact that George Idiot Bush, beat Al “The Human Dynamo” Gore?

    Trivia question. Prior to Gore in 2000, who was the last major party POTUS candidate whou couldn’t carry his own state?

  31. answer to trivia question is McGovern

  32. Not my fault, I was busy tearin Wallace stickers from the bumpers of cars.

  33. Isn’t eight years enough time to get over the fact that George Idiot Bush, beat Al “The Human Dynamo” Gore?

    Yes.

    But Gore did win the popular vote. I don’t care one way or the other, but it is a fact.

  34. The Republicans were what, in control of the Congress and the Presidency for five years during this decade?

    Six.

  35. Go back and look at the national polling numbers for Obama/Clinton in May and June, RC. Obama was beating Clinton by a larger margin during that period than he was in April.

    National polling numbers are like fantasy football – fun for obsessives, but they’re not really the game.

    Go back and looked at who won more delegates in March and April, joe. Clinton was beating Obama in the actual race for the nomination during that period. By May, as I recall, the “inevitability” drumbeat had started, and Obama picked up a few more than Hillary through the closing of the campaign.

  36. Pug – After Jeffords switched to Independent in 2001, the Democrats controlled the Senate for a year. If “Congress and the Presidency” means both houses, five is accurate.

  37. Isn’t eight years enough time to get over the fact that George Idiot Bush, beat Al “The Human Dynamo” Gore?

    So you’re just giving up the whole “the Democrats had an unpopular message in 2000” argument, and throwing around partisan poo? Do you ever write anything that’s intended to describe the world as it actually is, rather than to flatter yourself?

  38. National polling numbers are like fantasy football – fun for obsessives, but they’re not really the game.

    Once again, when your argument is about the popularity of a candidate in our political system – you know, like when you wrote this I believe it was when Hillary was kicking his ass in the late primaries. It was too little, too late, but it did show he pretty much peaked sometime in, what, April? – the national numbers are the relevant measure.

    Pointing out that Hillary won some subset of states during a certain period could show that she became more popular during that period, or it could show that there were contests being held in states that favored her. The national numbers tell us which one, and it’s the latter.

    Barack Obama became more popular nationally during the period that Hillary was winning Ohio and Pennsylvania than he was when he was winning that string of small states.

  39. People that say this is all Fannie and Freddie’s fault have a very limited idea of what the real problem is.

    But it makes it easier to pin the blame on Democrats.

  40. “.. Republicans bear quite a bit of responsibility for deregulation of the banking industry ”

    Which is to be applauded.

    “lower wages for the working and middle class”

    I keep hearing about this. I personally have made more money in the last several years than at any time in my life. However, if lower wages is a general trend, then how exactly is a Democrat going to change it? The gov’t doesn’t control anything except the minimum wage – and raising that simply results in more unemployment.

    ” and the rise of unemployment that resulted in those people not being able to make their mortgage payments. ”

    Hmm, a consequence of the gov’t forcing wage increases on small businesses?

    “Neither party is blame-free, but as I see it, enabling more people to buy homes is a good thing for the economy, and wouldn’t have caused a problem if the Republicans hadn’t contributed their part.”

    Both parties, (well the Dems and the Repub president) seem to believe this entirely subjective nonsense. The current crisis only reinforces this absurd assumption. I’ve owned a home for the last 10 years, and I think it’s pretty much a money pit. I wish I could talk my wife into leasing – you don’t get the tax deduction but you also don’t have to worry about the damn maintenance. Homeownership is pretty much an investment where you hope to someday break even, at least money wise. Without the tax breaks its a total loser in most markets.

  41. Pug,

    See Hogan’s comment.

  42. Whatever, joe. This year’s Dem primary could have broken either way based on any number of arbitrary things, most especially including the sequence of primaries.

    I still think Obama’s race was a big asset to him in the primaries, and continues to be a smaller asset to him now.

  43. This year’s Dem primary could have broken either way based on any number of arbitrary things, most especially including the sequence of primaries.

    See, THAT’S a true statement. The race was a virtual tie, and remained so throughout the contest.

    It’s the idea that there was a big swing to Obama and a big swing to Hillary that I’m disputing; there wasn’t, it just appeared to be because of the sequence of the contests.

  44. Romney had no chance. He’d have ten times as many “how many houses do I own” gaffes by now. The only one with a chance, and people don’t like hearing this, was Ron Paul, because he TOLD US SO. This fiscal clusterfuck wasn’t a surprise to anyone into Austrian economics, and now we get to say “WE TOLD YOU SO” because it’s so self-evident that we DID tell everyone so. Everyone didn’t listen, the country is fucked, but the truth remains the truth, and Mitt was clueless through the entire campaign, despite all the loot he threw into it.

    And I fail to see how stupid race-baiting newsletters the man DID NOT WRITE are worse than either the Reverend Wright’s sermons or calling Asians “gook” more than 2 decades after the Vietnam War. The only difference among the 3 for me is a well timed hit piece from that paragon of fiscal conservatism, “The New Republic,” in the newsletter case, followed by stupid handling of it by Paul’s campaign. Throwing Lew Rockwell under that bus might have won it for him.

  45. The only one with a chance, and people don’t like hearing this, was Ron Paul, because he TOLD US SO.

    Sorry, but running Ron Paul and His Newsletters against a black guy would probably lead to the first 70% landslide in American history.

    You can argue that he didn’t write ’em, that Wright was as bad, etc., but that message would never see the light of day. It would be all “Texas racist kook against the Dali Bama” 24/7.

  46. i still don’t really see what small-government types would find to really object to in most of wright’s most inflammatory comments. how many of us say “fuck the government!” on a daily, if not hourly, basis?

  47. So how did McCain avoid the g-word, which he DID use, and which I suspect some media denizen of the old “Straight Talk Express” might have on tape? What Paul needed to do was be prepared to throw someone under that bus, and that someone was Lew Rockwell, who even if he didn’t write them was their editor & therefore had responsibility. His campaign was too inept to do it, so they lost, but you have no idea if Paul would have lost, much less by how much, if he’d handled that and a few other situations right.

  48. i still don’t really see what small-government types would find to really object to in most of wright’s most inflammatory comments. how many of us say “fuck the government!” on a daily, if not hourly, basis?

    How many of y’all say fuck it because it’s a tool of racial domination that created AIDS to wipe out blacks?

  49. Austrian economists have predicted ten of the lat six recessions.

  50. 2008: ACORN DID IT!

  51. So you’re just giving up the whole “the Democrats had an unpopular message in 2000” argument, and throwing around partisan poo?

    No, I thought the results of congressional elections in 2000 made it clear that the Dems had losing planks in their platform. You really want to go with the Democratic congressional mandate between 1994 and 2004? It would make an interesting and humorous discussion.

  52. 2008: ACORN DID IT!

    ding, ding, ding!
    We have a winner. They are already talking about ACORN over at Redstate.com. Seems like they may have registered some folks they shouldn’t have. We all know that Republican supporters would never stoop that low.

    Unfortunately for them, like 2004, this election ain’t gonna be close enopugh to plausibly blame it on anything other than the party and nominee.

    But they will try.

  53. The election ended the day McCain announced they were pulling out of Michigan.

  54. The stuff about Ayers? That’s not so they win the election. That’s called poisoning the well (think Whitewater).

    But the Republicans won’t be able to launch any investigations this time, because they will be lucky to have 41 seats in the Senate.

  55. how many of us say “fuck the government!” on a daily, if not hourly, basis?

    *raises hand*

  56. How many of y’all say fuck it because it’s a tool of racial domination that created AIDS to wipe out blacks?

    Not me. But when the Tuskagee syphilis experiments come up I do. The fact that those actually happened might explain why the myth about the CIA and AIDS has so much traction in the black community.

  57. The fact that those actually happened might explain why the myth about the CIA and AIDS has so much traction in the black community.

    I agree. Doesn’t make it an acceptable idea to propagate, though.

    And not to split hairs but the Tuskegee experiment was just using blacks as like guinea pigs, not actually trying to exterminate them. Still not ok.

  58. How many of y’all say fuck it because it’s a tool of racial domination that created AIDS to wipe out blacks?

    how many do it because they think the government is individually going to steal their guns?

    paranoid or not, we all say fuck the government.

  59. JMR-Two things

    1) It’s over. Ron Paul lost. Big time. This was largely his own fault. Please get over it.

    2) Even if he hadn’t lost, him trying to run in a climate like this would have led to Goldwater/Johnson II; the magnificent beatdown. Because the sort of fiscal conservatism that Ron Paul sells to people is wildly unpopular unless it’s being applied to someone who’s not you or your family. That’s why Ron Paul still sees to it that his share of the pork is in the bills. That’s why, once they get into power, the small government rhetoric of Republicans gets replaced with “differently arranged but still masssive government” when they start passing laws. The sweeping majority of the population of the US wants the government to fix this. They want it bad. And they’ll tear anyone who they see as getting in the way of it to shreds.

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