Unless race influences more than 10% of the electorate (despite what people are saying to pollsters), this election should by all rights already be over.
The doors are closing on John McCain.
The Sarah Palin-as-Vice President idea has gone beyond McCain's noted impetuousness and proven to be a risk to our national security as the economy tanks and two wars against Islamic peoples threaten (with Pakistan's border provinces) to morph into three. That she might have to consult a fifth grade geography student to be able to find several places where there are potential flare-ups is not comforting to most people with a pulse. The now-famous 29 second photo ops featuring Palin and various toadying foreign leaders at the United Nations were seen for what they are: a cynical attempt to portray Palin as someone whose intuitive political sense and rough-hewn charms will somehow allow her to lead as McCain gradually loses his intellectual acuity or perhaps dies in office.
McCain wouldn't know a derivative contract if it had his name on it. He appears to have no investments that he manages directly. I doubt his wife, Cindy, lets him near her $100 million in assets as his monthly high stakes gambling forays to Las Vegas, Atlantic City and the Indian gaming casinos he has has nurtured consume tens of thousands of dollars per trip. [I'll be charitable and pretend that free hookers and casino chips are not included as they often are when casino moguls entertain politicians; or, as McCain does indeed know, defense contractors do as well].
McCain on Iraq is embarrassing. That a surge of 30,000 extra troops has somehow reduced the danger and instability in Iraq is a joke. I wish Barack Obama had jumped on McCain more aggressively in their first debate on his claim that we are "winning" in Iraq. We pay a salary to fully 300,000 Sunni militamen to train their guns on non-Iraqi Arab fighters who have infiltrated Iraq through Syria; the Shia militiamen whom Iran supports have stood down on their own awaiting a political deal from Baghdad; and, the security situation in Baghdad has been made much easier as there are no longer any mixed neighborhoods and there are 25% fewer people to police. Even Bush's generals warn of how fragile the situation in Iraq is, so McCain's claims to the contrary are largely imaginary.
An ex-prisoner of war who says "I know how to win wars" is basically a guy who has chafed in peacetime. A McCain family man without a uniform on or a martial cause is a McCain without an alternative purpose in life. That has been described as McCain's being from Sparta while the rest of us are from Athens. He has to be challenged frontally on his claims to expertise on military matters, as only General Wesley Clark, our former Supreme Commander of NATO, has done. Not challenging McCain on this allows the GOP to get away untrammeled on defense issues which it has no right to.
McCain's Senate career has likewise gone unchallenged -- he has unflattering history of destroying young staffers' careers when they have done something to displease him; he has a vile temper and an intemperate way of communicating his displeasure to other members of the Senate who oppose him. He has thoroughly distorted his record on such core values as Veteran's Affairs, De-regulation of the economy, Indian Affairs and Defense. His own "I wasn't elected Miss Congeniality in the US Senate" should serve to put us all on notice as to how he would relate to foreign leaders and to a Democratic Congress.
The only thing we have to fear is another blown or stolen opportunity brought to us by a legion of inept democratic political operatives who counsel against openness and frankness.