Wednesday, October 1, 2008

John McCain Throws Deep

The most famous Hail Mary in American football history.

After today’s deluge of bad battleground polls, it’s desperation time again for McCain. He’s developed a reputation for doing the unexpected, including nominating Sarah Palin and suspending his campaign. Marcus and I have put together a quick Top Five options for McCain’s next crazy move, with advantages and disadvantages.

Resign from the Senate
Advantage: Bolsters his anti-Washington credentials
Disadvantage: Costs the Republican Party a Senate seat, as Democratic AZ Gov. Janet Napolitano would get to nominate the next. Also, McCain would be unemployed come January 2009.

Surprise visit to Iraq
Advantage: This oldy-but-goody surprise focuses attention on national security, where McCain is stronger than on the economy, and could produce some more ‘the surge worked’ stories, bolstering his claim to good judgment.
Disadvantage: Time spent out of the country is time not spent doing rallies, media events, or fundraisers

Publicly Recommend Bombing Iran
Advantage: Promotes his tough image, takes attention away from economy and focuses it on Iran and Israel, friendlier territory for the McCain campaign.
Disadvantage: Brings back the war-mongering thing.

Dump Palin
Advantage: Cuts losses on a huge liability. Tom Ridge.
Disadvantage: Huge embarrassment. More references to Eagleton. Incenses the Right.

Make and spend a huge personal campaign contribution
Advantage: More badly needed money in play in states where he is being outspent. Shows commitment to winning.
Disadvantage: Now might not be the best time for news stories featuring any aspect of McCain’s fabulous wealth. Also, less money for his retirement.

The typical Hail Mary throughout American football history.


DCDuck said...

First of all, I knew this had to be Frank the moment I opened it and saw the BC/Flutie Hail Mary video embedded.

Second, I've also been trying to think of what type of game changer McCain could be thinking of. I think ditching Palin is simply not an option, for all of the reasons you, Nate Silver, Andrew Sullivan and others have trotted out. I think that the base, and many regular Republicans, are voting FOR this ticket (rather than just reflexively voting against the Democrats) because of her. Anecdotaly I have several Republican friends whose opinions I respect very much who honestly believe that the media is beating up on her unfairly, and going out of their way to trap her in a way that they haven't with Obama. And they genuinely like her, while they don't feel the same way about McCain. Anyhow, that's a bit off topic.

The main thing I think McCain will do in the near term is to go extremely negative, and do so very, very soon.

One other thought I've had, is it too late for McCain to go against the bailout, and then to run on that? Sure, it would be very risky, but everything mentioned here is. There's certainly a good number of folks who are against it, and the final bill will certainly have a ton of problems.

DCDuck said...

One additional comment/question: Wouldn't McCain be precluded from making a gigantic personal donation to his campaign by virtue of the fact that he's opted into federal matching funds? I'm not 100% certain how this works, but I thought he would be shut out. Of course, he could always give a ton to a 527 and achieve the same thing.

And one comment,specifically for Marcus, as I know he appreciates this part the most: While the Flutie Hail Mary is certainly the iconic one, and won him the Heisman, my favorite is actually the Hail Mary thrown by LSU a couple of years ago ago against Kentucky. Kentucky was up, they'd actually already dumped Gatorade on the coach, and victory was all but assured. And then out of nowhere LSU threw a pass that was tipped at least twice and hit an LSU receiver perfectly in stride for the winning TD. Incredible.

I'll turn this into a sports blog yet.

Frank A. Spring said...

I considered using the LSU/Kentucky play - a more dramatic end, I agree, but not iconic.
Your point about the massive personal donation is a good one; the 527 option would get around that. The point is that the guy is sitting on this ridiculous fortune and not putting it to work. How many $500 loafers does he really need?

DCDuck said...

Apparently more than he has. Plus, he could spend $5,500 on makeup every single day between now and the election. His face isn't going to powder itself.

Marcus A. Roberts said...

Indeed it was not me who posted this American football oriented piece. I wouldn’t have anything to do with it, principally because Frank ignored my wholly persuasive argument that, if we should use any last minute desperate video, it should have been the Music City Miracle. The parallel is almost exact – a technically dubious lateral movement of the ball followed by a desperate heave by a player who technically shouldn’t have been throwing it at all. It’s perfect, I tell you. But, no, Frank was worried that it would confuse our readers who don’t understand the ins and outs of the game like I do.

DCDuck said...

I would agree, the parallels are eerie, from the red state (Tennessee) - Blue state (New York) split, to the wanton disregard for the rules. You truly are a great football mind.

Marcus A. Roberts said...

I most cretainly am. Now, kindly remind me how many points a touchdown is worth again?