We're in trouble:
Obama was at the Tiergarten in Berlin, amid a sea of people. McCain was at "Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant" in German Village, an enclave of Columbus, Ohio.
McCain addressed about a half dozen Ohio small business owners in the historic village.
"I'd love to give a speech in Germany," McCain said. "But I'd much prefer to do it as President."
This event was hastily organized after the candidate's planned visit to a Louisiana [oil rig] was cancelled due to the threat of hurricanes in the Gulf Coast.
Someone emailed me this news from another source, and at first we couldn't tell if it was satire. Obama, of course, gave a speech this afternoon to huge crowd in Berlin. He has just come from the Middle East, where he garnered glowing press. Seeing the McCain campaign try to counter Obama's Berlin event with a stop in German Village where McCain ate some sausage is so pathetic it probably causes most political observers who aren't fervent Republicans to laugh, and like us, think, "nah, this has to be a joke. They're not that bad...are they?"
It wasn't a joke. And it's got me worried.
You probably know the concept of peaking too soon. I'm afraid the McCain campaign may be bottoming out too soon. I've been following politics since the mid-80's, and I can't think of any campaign that has been as bad as McCain's.
The campaign thought it was a good idea to send McCain out to an oil rig during a hurricane. That didn't work, because, you know, there was a hurricane. By even suggesting that it was a good idea, and then having to pull back from their plans, they looked like nitwits. (And that doesn't even address the problems caused by the oil spill that's shut down the Mississippi River south of New Orleans.
Their Plan B? They sent him to an ethnic diner that will reinforce the contrast between the tired McCain, who met with a few small businessmen, and the charismatic Obama, who got a reception from Berliners like that given to John F. Kennedy.
Obama went to Berlin and got hundreds of thousands of people and fawning press coverage. McCain went to Ohio and got a bratwurst and probably a case of heartburn.
So why am I worried? Because I can't believe Republicans will allow McCain to continue running his campaign this poorly. [And the RNC hasn't been any better, as SusanG pointed out yesterday.] The rest of the party doesn't necessarily need him to run a campaign that can put him in a position to win, but they have to do whatever they can to prevent him from losing solidly and losing in a landslide. A solid loss hurts them for a while. It could take them a decade or longer to recover from a landslide loss.
McCain isn't a particularly good candidate. He's undisciplined, many people think he's too old to be president, he's too closely associated with George W. Bush, and his party is now loathed by much of America. He's generally seen as likable, but more and more his weaknesses as a candidate are becoming visible.
But as bad a candidate as McCain may be, his campaign is making him worse. They wasted the time between him locking up their nomination and Obama securing ours. Obama raised as much money in one day last month as McCain raised in all of June. McCain spent far more than Obama in June, but he didn't gain any ground.
The McCain campaign recently went through shake-up that was supposed to tighten their operations. While they have gotten slightly more aggressive in attacking Obama, their messaging and choice of locations and visuals have been laughably bad and don't appear to be getting any better.
I love seeing McCain's campaign get outclassed by Obama's in almost every facet. I have thought all along that whoever won our nomination would win the presidency, and that there's a good chance that by historical standards it won't even be close. But I don't like to see the McCain campaign hit what by similar historical standards may be rock bottom, and do it so far out from the election that McCain might have time to bring in people who could improve his operation and make the election closer than we would all like.