"[A]t the end of the day, McCain's problems are structural—and thus unfixable—and I don’t think his managers and advisors should take the blame for the senator’s upcoming loss.
"First, there’s the obvious case of McCain’s GWOT hawkishness. Americans like to hear that 'the surge is working,' as this allows them to stop thinking about Iraq. But outside a few GOP diehards, they're sick of hearing about 'the transcendent challenge of our time.' And yet McCain had to emphasize all this stuff, as this is the basis of his political identity.
Moreover, on the economy, McCain’s Maverickness simply sounded like Change Lite—if you really think Bush caused all our economic problems (not true) and that a new regime in Washington can solve them (not true), then why not go with someone who’s much, much more different than Bush, not just a little different. The most consistent argument will win. If Ron Paul had been in these debates, we could have actually had a . . . what’s the word? . . . debate between two candidates with fundamentally different economic philosophies. As it was, McCain appeared to be practicing me-too-ism."