The old fighter pilot has fought his last war and the path to defeat nineteen days from now seems all but inevitable. For the second time in eight years, George W. Bush will have beaten him.
Obama, who, incredibly, McCain has made to seem the cool and collected grownup, the safe choice, is now a veritable Sherman, marching into the red confederacy and turning it blue. Again last night, I suspect millions of American voters grew anxious, clammy even, at the thought of inviting Mister Wilson, Dennis the Menace’s grouchy old next-door neighbor, into their living rooms for the next four years – especially if they own high-definition TV sets.
In the end, it looks as though McCain will have to settle for the gold watch the GOP (with an emphasis on the 'O') honored him with nomination, as they did with Bob Dole a dozen years ago. Only a miracle can save John McCain and the schizophrenic campaign he’s waged.
So what might that miracle be? The other night, David Letterman, in his "Top Ten Ways John McCain Can Turn It Around," listed as No. 1: "Get Sarah Palin to fire herself illegally."
Maybe, but I think Tom Brokaw came a whole lot closer when he reported on Meet the Press last Sunday that "there are some people in the Obama campaign who believe that there's a concerted effort under way to get Osama bin Laden before Election Day and bring him out of captivity, dead or alive, in some fashion."
In my humble estimation, McCain has but one last hope of winning, and it is not by virtue of the racially-tinged Bradley Effect.
Rather, I will call it the Samir Effect.
In April 2005, our very own Chad Garrison sat down with a young St. Louis auto mechanic named Samir who recounted one of the most sublime moments of his life. ["I Punched Saddam in the Mouth," by Chad Garrison, April 13, 2005.]
Samir told of his arrival in Tikrit as an Arabic interpreter for the United States Special Forces in late 2003 and how he peered into a spider hole and heard a voice begging for mercy. It was the voice of Saddam Hussein. It was Samir who pulled the Iraq dictator from that dirty little hole the cold night of December 13, 2003, and, in a fit of rage, punched him in the mouth.
McCain must do the same with bin Laden. He must suspend (for the second time) his campaign and journey to Pakistan. He must find that Gate of Hell where lurks that madman, reach down, plunk him up to justice, and deliver a head-butt bin Laden won't soon forget.
This is McCain's final straw, the last and only Hail Mary. Short of this, he will surely lose.