The Washington Post's David Broder deigns grace us with his presence.
Well, not "us," per se. Broder visited the Philly-area suburbs, where conventional wisdom says Pennsylvania's presidential election contest will be decided. But instead of dwelling amongst the peasantry in Pennsylvania's rural and post-industrial villages, as so many national reporters have done, Broder visits Montgomery County instead.
Broder's conclusion: "It's hard to see how John McCain can overcome [the] odds in Pennsylvania."
Montco, as pundits are wont to call it, is one of those exurban counties which has attracted increasing numbers of white-collar types. Some of these folks may benefit from a cut in capital-gains taxes, but they're also watching their 401(k)s evaporate. And they tend to believe in things like, you know, science. Broder's article makes clear that if McCain set out to alienate such voters, he couldn't have made a better vice-presidential pick than Sarah Palin.
One Obama backer laments the fact that Palin "drops her g's constantly" -- which seems about as CELEBRATING the fact that she drops her g's constantly. But even a GOP voter admits that, "The thought of Sarah Palin being a heartbeat away is terrifying."
In any case, the story is worth a read because it offers up anecdotal reasons for why the GOP, after signalling a desire to go after Obama on trumped-up "character issues," now seems to be backing off. That stuff fires up the right, but this year, it's not playing with undecided voters, who are the key to McCain's diminishing hopes.
Broder introduces us to Lois Coar, who by all rights should be voting for McCain: She tells Broder that she backed GOP candidate Mitt Romney earlier this year, and says she can't see herself voting for Obama "not because he's black, but I just can't put it in words." So why isn't she backing McCain? Because "I can't understand why he keeps talking about this Ayers guy."
This space had doubts about whether McCain's strategy of going negative would work. Now, apparently, McCain has decided they won't. Since playing politics-as-usual hasn't panned out for him, he's going to argue that he's not the sort of candidate who plays politics-as-usual. Since his attempt to cater to the base is hurting him, he'll insist that he's only ever been interested in bipartisanship.
Sincerity: the last refuge of the scoundrel.