It's not even election day yet but Orlando Sentinel staff writer Jim Stratton is already writing off John McCain's chances of winning in Florida. According to Stratton, McCain's campaign now looks hopeless in the Sunshine State despite the most recent Survey USA poll showing that McCain leads Barack Obama in Florida by 49% to 47%. However, according to Stratton the McCain campaign is pretty much over. You got that? OVER! And to back up his assertion of McCain campaign hopelessness, Stratton uses selective quotes in his report (emphasis mine):
The e-mail was practically giddy.
It came from Florida Democrats and highlighted the lumps John McCain was taking from leading Republicans.
Bill Kristol said McCain was "flailing around." George Will said it was "too late" for McCain to "come up with a new persona." And former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, asked whether he was happy with McCain's campaign, replied, "No. I don't know who is."
Unlike much political propaganda, these comments weren't wrenched out of context. They accurately represented a growing discontent with the Republican's presidential campaign.
Dewey defeats Truman! Obama defeats McCain! McCain is ahead of Obama in Florida in the latest poll (which probably underestimates McCain's true strength) but Stratton has his defeat theme going and just won't let go:
"I think Florida's still in play," said GOP ex-U.S. Rep. Lou Frey of Orlando. "But in this business, perception matters. Perception is reality."
In Florida, John McCain's reality has grown harsher with almost every news cycle. Polls show this reliably red state trending blue as Barack Obama nurses a small but steady lead.
"Small but steady lead?" The polls show that "lead" went to "behind" in the most recent survey but reporting on this would be an inconvenient fact for Stratton:
The Illinois senator has flooded Florida with more than 300 staffers and thousands of volunteers. He has opened about 50 offices and, in recent weeks, outspent McCain 3-to-1 on television advertising.
And yet is behind in the most recent poll. That should be the theme of Stratton's article. Despite all that spending, Obama lags behind McCain in Florida but Stratton want to hold a pre-election Florida wake for McCain.
...One who has advised the McCain organization called it the "most poorly run presidential campaign of the last 25 years. It's truly Dukakis-like," referring to the hapless 1988 campaign of Democrat Michael Dukakis.
"They have absolutely no strategy for winning," said the veteran operative, who did not want to be identified criticizing a candidate he supports. "I see . . . no rhyme or reason to this campaign or its scheduling or its planning.
An unnamed source? Would it possibly be some angry "source" who didn't get a contract for running the McCain campaign in Florida?
Still, McCain has time to close the gap. Florida has supported a Democratic presidential candidate only three times in the past 40 years, and its most dependable voting groups -- older residents, veterans -- play to McCain's strengths. Before the chaos on Wall Street, he led for months in virtually every state poll.
Why would McCain want to "close the gap?" He's ahead in the latest poll (although perhaps not in Stratton's "perception") so he would want to widen the gap. And now for the money quote of the piece:
Frey said McCain can win Florida, but "we need a 120-yard Hail Mary pass."
You would think that McCain was 20 points behind in the polls in Florida instead of being ahead. The theme of this Orlando Sentinel story is also being repeated in many other MSM outlets: McCain is hopelessly behind Obama who has such vast resources that he is overwhelming the Arizona senator. The not so hidden message is to demoralize McCain voters into hopefully not even bothering to vote in such a "hopeless cause."
Nice try, Jim, but I hope you don't mind if people don't pay attention to the media created "perception" of McCain being an almost certain loser in Florida (despite leading in the Survey USA poll) and actually go out and vote.