Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pennsylvania, McCain and Pickett's Charge

Herewith my own take on the new McCain Pennsylvania "strategy" that Mike Crowley brought up here, reconsidered here, and further eludes to here. This sums it up:

The go-north strategy assumes McCain thinks he can hold Virginia. But, even though VA wasn't named in yesterday's CNN story about states at least one McCain insider considers "gone," his chances there are looking awfully bleak, even if you assume a surprise Bradley effect. If Virginia's gone, too, then PA really is McCain's last shot.

I don't get it.

Looking at the polling in PA, it just doesn't seem like a good play. PA has gone blue for the last 4 elections, and Obama is ahead there by double digits--as much as 12 points in some polls. McCain hasn't been ahead in PA in a single poll since at least May. Even when McCain was surging, he wasn't winning PA.

And poster Mike, responding to Crowley's "reconsidered" post, makes nice point:

It's looking more like the primary where Plouffe's ground game built too many firewalls before Hillary invaded a state. Plus, McCain knows the $150 million in October combined with the flood of new donors means Obama began his version of Rove's final 72 hours when polls opened. McCain can burn his time and money in PA for the rest of the week but by early next week he'll know if Obama has already done the job on the ground. At that point he might save a close down ballot race but won't reclaim any state where 1/3 of the vote is locked in and it shows he's several points behind.
So I have to ask myself: is this a hail-Mary, a head-fake, or a kamikaze mission? Somebody help me out here. I agree that taking PA maybe wins McCain the election, VA or no VA--assuming Obama loses all the other battlegrounds: OH and MO and NV and FL and NC, which is not a done deal by any means. (I don't include CO as a battleground anymore; I think it's solid blue in 2008.)

Okay, sure, in that scenario PA wins McCain the election--but that's kind of like R. E. Lee saying, ca March 1865, that taking the Eastern Seaboard brings victory to the Confederacy. Absolutely true, and totally irrelevant, since Lee had no hope of capturing the Eastern Seaboard. And McCain, to my eye, has next to no hope of capturing PA.

Am I just fucked in the head, here? Because I really don't get it. Somebody please help me out, because PA for McCain looks like Pickett's Charge to me.

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