Florida is an absolute must-win for John McCain. Now, the Republican candidate could win the state and lose the country, but if the talking heads declare Florida blue on election night, then Obama supporters will probably break out the party hats early. So it doesn't bode well for McCain then that he's trailing in the polls here.
Back in August, we suggested that McCain should pick Florida Gov. Charlie Crist as his running mate to a victory in the state. Of course back then, Florida had been leaning towards the red column in polls all year, so instead McCain picked Gov. Sarah Palin. She's the leadewr of a state with three measly electoral votes that would have been red anyway. The thinking was that she'd rile up the base, a base that almost assuredly would have voted Republican anyway. We warned McCain she was the worst possible pick, but we suspect he tends to skip over us in his rss reader. Fast forward to present day, and the general consensus is that Palin may be one hell of an attention getter, but most Americans aren't comfortable with the idea of her being a heartbeat away from the presidency during economic turmoil. And even as she riles up the base, she may be turning away swing voters with pitbull attacks and loopy interviews.
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Now, McCain is not only behind in the Florida polls, but he's losing Virginia and North Carolina too. West Virginia could go either way, and there's even been a bit of chatter that Georgia could end up being a lot closer than polls are predicting. Sounds like McCain has a bit of a Southern problem.
Perhaps if he had a popular, moderate Southern governor on the ticket things wouldn't be so bad. One who seemed young, yet poised and responsible. One who voters wouldn't feel would take us on a white knuckle roller coaster of a ride should McCain's passing come during his Presidency. One like good ol' Charlie Crist. Plus Crist comes with the added symbolic bonus of being a successful Republican executive who followed a Bush (not to say Jeb's governorship was anything like the disaster that was W's presidency, but still).
Of course, it's too late to go back in time, and even a different running mate might not have been enough to turn the tide. And maybe Crist is better off not baring the scars of this campaign anyway. He wants to be in top shape for 2012 anyway, right?