Most of them have been in some form of denial about this, and a few still are.
I knew back during the crazy days of the summer that it was over for one reason: Anyone who can beat the Clinton's is unstoppable. The way that he won that race will be studied for decades. The way that Obama will beat McCain is unremarkable, and will go down in history as a repeating of what's happened several times in the past: throwing out a war-time president's party.
A true conservative might have had a chance. Someone who didn't start off a debate, as McCain did last night, by promising a new program so immense and liberal that even solidly conservative journalists called it "insane."
So, McCain is not a conservative, and is really just not that good of a guy. This bit of reporting for me seems to ring awfully true. This is part of a story about McCain quoting one of McCain's fellow POWs, and recounts a story from after the war:
On the grounds between the two brick colleges, the chitchat between the scion of four-star admirals and the son of a prizefighter turns to their academic travels; both colleges sponsor a trip abroad for young officers to network with military and political leaders in a distant corner of the globe.For me, the final nail in the coffin about McCain was this exchange of letters between Obama and McCain from before either of them announced for president.
"I'm going to the Middle East," Dramesi says. "Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iran."
"Why are you going to the Middle East?" McCain asks, dismissively.
"It's a place we're probably going to have some problems," Dramesi says.
"Why? Where are you going to, John?"
"Oh, I'm going to Rio."
"What the hell are you going to Rio for?"
McCain, a married father of three, shrugs.
"I got a better chance of getting laid."
Dramesi, who went on to serve as chief war planner for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air Command, was not surprised. "McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man," Dramesi says today. "But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."
I won't even try to quote from them, you have to read the three of them to get the idea. I've gotten some similarly bizarre, mean and counter-productive letters in my life, and I wish I'd had the grace that Obama had in responding.
So, now in my mind the presidential race is boring. It's over. The best analysis of polls is actually now wondering if it's possible for Obama to get any higher in the polls. So, now there are two questions, one big and one smaller but still important. The first big question is starting to get talked about more loudly, for instance here: What will conservatism do now.
This is something Sullivan has been exploring a lot out loud, and the rest of the pundits on the right will be catching up soon enough.
The second question for me is less well known. Will Colorado Amendment 50 die the horrible death it deserves?
I don't have answers for either, but I'll enjoy agitating against Amendment 50 for the next couple of weeks, and for true conservatism in the months and years to come. Can't wait!