You know how Bush governed, like he’d figured out polls don’t actually mean anything? That you can say and do whatever random, bullshit, crazy thing you want, and say the sky is purple and no matter how many Democrats say it’s blue you’ll get coverage that reports this stunning new debate in American science about how nobody really knows what color the sky is? The key component of that is not caring that it’s bullshit, not caring that most people think it’s bullshit, not caring that lots of dirty fucking hippies on the Internets are criticizing your bullshit. It’s the brazenness, makes it work.
I don’t know if McCain’s campaign didn’t know this, or just got scared after Palin’s trainwreck Couric interview (that does seem to be when things went really south) or McCain himself really is too oldschool to realize this is how it works now, but the moment they began trying to calm the hatred down, that’s the moment they lost this election.
(And I mean lost control of it, where even if they somehow manage to snatch a win, it’ll be because they tripped and fell over the finish line while wrestling with a drunk circus bear on acid.)
The moment they began trying to calm the hatred down, the moment they noticed the hatred at all, the moment they slowed down to actually react to reality instead of just barrelling the Bullshit Express right on through, that’s the moment they truly strayed from the game plan. Because the trick is not to slow down enough so that people can see what you’re doing.