THE "LOST" CAUSE. I've never seen a candidate do worse than McCain did tonight. But let's see what the kids at The Corner thought:
From the beginning they were restive. Kathryn J. Lopez came in early by wishing "He so should have opposed the bailout." (Ramesh Ponnuru explains that it's more expedient to lie about that.) Jonah Goldberg also proposed an alternative response -- as usual, a nonsensical one.
They loved Joe the Plumber. John Hood called him "a new American hero." K-Lo said Joe's her hero. Stephen Spruill was reminded of Swing Vote -- given its grosses, another sign that we are among dead-enders.
They had trouble keeping the ball aloft. "What's the deal with the McCain strategy of repeating the same phrase three times?" said Michael Graham. "Freeze, scalpel, hatchet zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz," said the easily bored Jonah Goldberg, who wanted McCain to talk about gay marriage. Sorry, Jonah, wrong decade.
When McCain said he wasn't Bush, K-Lo was overjoyed, but die-harder Ponurru said, "isn't Obama right?... I prefer more of the Bush program to the Obama program myself."
Poor John Hood complained that Obama was laughing at McCain. Laugh and the world laughs with you... or, probably in this case, vice-versa.
The clearest sign of how out of touch they are is Michael Graham's "YES!!! Finally!!!" when McCain said that Obama's concern for the health of women having abortions is a joke. "It's a huge winning issue that reaches beyond the pro-life base." Maybe if Graham ever wandered outside that highly specific base, he'd rethink that.
But even the brethren had some clue that this battle can only be won in the hypothetical: Stanley Kurtz laid out a long alternate-reality McCain response having to do with ACORN and Bill Ayers. Mark Steyn let slip the deepest wish of the tribe by revealing that, as regarded the charges of negative campaigning by McCain, "if the dissatisfactions with McCain expressed to me at the Palin rally in Laconia, NH today are anything to go by, there's a 60-40 probability that any cries of 'Kill him!' at a GOP event are directed at our guy."
That's tonic for the troops right there. The war-cries and whining go on, but Ponnuru put a fitting amen to it: "I’m going to go back to watching the first season of "Lost." Probably good preparation for next year." Theirs is a Lost Cause, indeed -- and like the more famous one, only redeemable by deep feelings about black people.