Neither of these people is conservative. When nonconservatives see the Obama love, and refer to it without prompting, the Obama love is deep. Remember how John McCain used to refer jokingly to the press as “my base”? Now it’s part of Mr. Obama’s. But if Mr. McCain loses, the reason will not be press bias.
The press knows who the press is for, and it isn’t generally the one to the right. This has been true all my life. What has also been true is that the Republican had to get around it with the truth of his stands, the force of his arguments, the un-ignorability of his words, the power of his presence. You have to go over the head of the interpreters and gently seize the country by its lapels. Mr. McCain never got much over their heads. This is not because they’re so tall. His campaign was not so much about meaning as it was, in the end, a series of moments—a good interview with Rick Warren, a good convention, Joe the Plumber . . .
And yet: It’s not over. For one thing, Mr. McCain has got to be reading Steven Stark’s piece in the Boston Phoenix, which imagines the forces that could produce a McCain upset. What if Mr. Obama underperforms on Election Day, just as he did in the final primaries with Hillary Clinton? What if senior citizens turn out in record numbers and vote for the older guy, and the financial crisis seems to fade, and Mr. McCain finds new grounding on the issue of taxes, and the Obama campaign undermines itself with premature triumphalism . . .
Mr. McCain has endless faith in his ability to come back. He’s been doing it for 40 years, from Vietnam, where, with the injuries he’d sustained and the torture he experienced, he might have died, was likely to die, and yet survived, to exactly a year ago, when he was out of money and out of luck. And then he won New Hampshire. When he says, “We got ’em where we want ’em” he must mean: They think they are looking at a corpse. No one in politics has so repeatedly relished coming back from the dead.