Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dead Sheep

George F. Will says that time is running out for John McCain to close the sale.

Time was, the Baltimore Orioles manager was Earl Weaver, a short, irascible, Napoleonic figure who, when cranky, as he frequently was, would shout at an umpire, ”Are you going to get any better, or is this it?” With, mercifully, only one debate to go, that is the question about John McCain’s campaign.

In the closing days of his 10-year quest for the presidency, McCain finds it galling that Barack Obama is winning the first serious campaign he has ever run against a Republican. Before Tuesday night’s uneventful event, gall was fueling what might be the McCain-Palin campaign’s closing argument. It is less that Obama has bad ideas than that Obama is a bad person.

This, McCain and his female Sancho Panza say, is demonstrated by bad associations Obama had in Chicago, such as with William Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist. But the McCain-Palin charges have come just as the Obama campaign is benefiting from a mass mailing it is not paying for.

Many millions of American households are gingerly opening envelopes containing reports of the third-quarter losses in their 401(k) and other retirement accounts — telling each household its portion of the almost $2 trillion that Americans’ accounts have recently shed.

In this context, the McCain-Palin campaign’s attempt to get Americans to focus on Obama’s Chicago associations seem surreal — or, as a British politician once said about criticism he was receiving, ”like being savaged by a dead sheep.”

Based on the last couple of weeks, I think it’s safe to say that the best that we have seen of the McCain campaign was a long time ago, and if yesterday’s manic swings by the campaign are any indication, it’s only going to get worse. Or just more weird.