(Note that Scott thinks the map will change this weekend to show a dead heat, at 269 EVs each for the big two, as “[r]ecent polls have pulled Ohio into McCain’s column and Wisconsin into Obama’s.”)
Senator McCain will pick a running mate who most decisively impacts this map, which means someone who first does no harm, and second brings the ability to move the needle in PA, OH, MI, MN, WI, IA, CO, and NM –the faintest of blue or a shade of light pink states wherein the November election will be decided.
Senator McCain has used the bonus time awarded him by the Dems’ screwy rules to reassure the conservative base on the war, judges and taxes while keeping his centrist appeal intact on climate change. His very effective appearances on SNL and the other shows like Ellen and Lettermen demonstrate a media-savvy that will be crucial in the fall. Obama is helping the GOP every single day by demonstrating again and again that it is safe to use the “L” word on the freshman senator –as in “lightweight.”
The combination of great news on continued progress in Iraq and ominous news from Lebanon and Iran also underscores McCain’s central appeal as a wartime president who won’t be making the sort of enormous blunders that Jimmy Carter did which led to generation-lasting burdens we are still carrying.
Yesterday Jennifer Rubin —don’t miss her analysis of Obama’s appeal to Jewish voters yesterday— made an argument on my show that Senator McCain should wait until after Senator Obama had selected his running mate in order to match the GOP ticket well against the Dems.
I see the logic, but think the time is now to throw the veep nominee fully into the fray and begin working these crucial states, town-by-town and precinct-by-precinct. Voters have to be engaged and persuaded about the very different paths being put before them. McCain is doing this effectively, but having two voices that command instant attention doing so is a great advantage. The veep nominee will effectively double the fund-raising efforts for House and Senate GOP candidates and the national party as well, while also giving the media, old and new, a second source of news every day. The Republicans need all the help they can marshall and they need it now, not two or three months from now.