(1) Joe the Plumber: why is he giving press conferences on foreign policy regarding Israel? What are his qualifications to give a credible opinion on this issue? Why are we calling him a plumber when he is not? Why is he a campaign headliner?
(1.5) Tito the Builder
(2) Joe Six Pack: Joe Six Pack has been presented as a model for a "true" American. Presenting Joe Six Pack as a true American is implying that anyone who is not Joe Six Pack is not a true American. Speaking of that...
(3) When did being an "intellectual" become a bad thing? Intellectual republicans are being ostracized for some of their departures to Obama's camp. Imagine that, people who can rationalize and make an informed decision. But, hey, Joe the Plumber is an expert on our relations with Israel.
(4) Sarah Palin: see every post I have written about her. She is a polarizing and divisive figure. I honestly think she was McCain's biggest mistake. You cannot argue yourself a moderate and then bring on a far, far right conservative as your number 2. The more she spoke, the more it became apparent that there was no sort of formal process by which McCain chose her. She doesn't have any knowledge, or the basis to articulate an opinion, on usual things you would expect a national executive to know. Sure, she is nice and her appeal is that she is "real" and like an average [white] American. And that is why the base she mobilized so much is of one voice and one point of view. She does not present change or a new point of view. She is like George Bush. And we already made that mistake. The person you want to hang out with should not always be President. Moreover, she has been a point of division among her own party. And the SNL skits only drove home the point. She, like Joe the Plumber, Tito the Builder, and Joes Six Pack, are caricatures for parody fodder. And like a house of cards...
(5) FOX News: Instead of spending time uplifting their obvious pick (McCain), they chose to disparage Obama. They may have done well to persuade Independants had they focused more on why McCain is the better choice instead recycling the Wright/Ayers story over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over...
(6) No Narrative, No Message, Poorly Managed Campaign: McCain missed an opportunity to run a dignified campaign. However, it seems he found it difficult to reconcile Karl Rove politics with the campaign he wanted to run. The country is more moderate, and the exhaustion with the war and worry about the economy did not create an environment in which those same dirty tricks could work
(7) 8 Years of Bush: This was going to be a tough mountain to climb, regardless of who was the candidate
(8) The Economic Crisis: McCain was sold as a military man. He stated from the very begining that he is not keen on economics...OOPS
(9) McCain's Debate Performances: The third debate was his most successful, but next to Obama, he looked old (not just in the literal meaning). In mannerisms, disposition, and ideas McCain is "old" and not an instrument of change.
(10) The Republican Party is changing: There is a divide inside the house. Some fiscally conservative Reagan Republicans do not neccessarily share common principles with Palin Republicans (the Christian evangelical right, racists, and Joe(s)). Also, fundamentally, the ideals of fiscal conservatism are something you can sell to alot of people (blacks, independents, social minorities). But if a strong part of your base is racists, offensive, judgmental, or not willing to work with these groups, then you lose the chance to expand your base and re-define your party. This is why, in my opinion, Gov. Palin was so wrong. She mobilized a specific group. But while she mobilized a particular group, she pushed out others that may have leaned McCain's way.
I just read through this post and realized how unfortunate this all is for John McCain. Ultimately, all of these reasons have nothing to do WITH John McCain. It is the people and the figures around him that has eroded his image and destroyed his campaign. Most of the attack ads against McCain-Palin were on their merits and policies. The McCain Campaign itself has been responsible for its own attack ads. Obama didn't have to do much but let them bicker from within, let Palin give interviews, let the Joe(s) campaign, and let the ignorance and racists comments at Palin rallies speak for themselves. McCain should have been more in control...but if he was in control, then I would be even more concerned if he were to win tomorrow