Here are a dozen, guaranteed, money-back reasons why John McCain won’t be the next president. (I can only offer a limited-time, money-back guarantee, since unfortunately I can’t control world events.)

1. The McBush factor. McCain’s support of the Iraq War will make it impossible for him to break from Bush, the most unpopular president in living memory. The photo/video of McCain hugging and being kissed by Bush will become increasingly embedded in the collective consciousness of the American people as the months roll on. See the McCain on Bush YouTube Video:

2. The Republican factor. Yes, McCain is a Republican. He will not be able to deny this fact. Currently, this is not the best party to have behind you in a push to the White House. Witness the recent loss of three traditionally Republican congressional seats and the declining number of Americans willing to identify themselves as Republicans. And then there are the comments of Congressman Tom Davis. “The political atmosphere facing House Republicans this November is the worst since Watergate and is far more toxic than it was in 2006” (NY Times, May 15th, 2008).

3. The Last War Syndrome. McCain and the operatives running his campaign are like generals fighting the last war. They are still convinced that negative advertising will be as successful against Obama as it was against Kerry. However, “The Times They are A-Changin.” And this leads to the next factor.

4. The Change Factor: Hillary tried experience, but this race is about change and the future. McCain appears to be operating a time machine that has only a reverse gear.

5. The Money Factor: Obama can raise a lot more, and a lot more quickly…..enough said.

6. The Age Factor: McCain’s age will hurt him. (I am not claiming that this is fair, but it seems to be a fact. Older voters are especially concerned about McCain’s age.)

7. The Not So Straight-talk Factor: McCain has built his reputation on being a man of principle. This has two features: he believes in something and he sticks with what he believes in. McCain has recently begun to backpedal on principles and commitments. He is vulnerable to being viewed as a flip-flopper, if not dishonest, which will undermine his hitherto greatest strength. See “The Carpetbagger Report” for an extensive list of McCain’s Flip-flops.

8. The Organizational Factor: The evidence thus far suggests that Obama has a far better campaign organization. There will be a volunteer gap, that is, Obama will have a lot more of them and they will be more enthusiastic than McCain’s campaign workers.

9. The Skeleton Factor: The Keating Five and lobbyists, need I say more.

10. The Anger Problem: It’s real.

11. The Crass and Crude Comment Problem: A corollary to the anger problem. He has made outrageous, crude, sometimes vile remarks, and most Americans don’t know about them, yet. For examples, see article here.

12. And last, but not least, The Lack of Background in Economics Factor. McCain has acknowledged that he needs to read up on economics. Not great for building confidence in a candidate in the midst of a recession.

Okay, that’s twelve. But let’s make it a baker’s dozen.

13. The “My Friends” Factor. I don’t believe that Americans will be prepared to live with four or eight years of being addressed by John McCain as, “My Friends,” especially when it is followed by that rather strange little grin.

UPDATE: 8/30/08 Due to McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his VP, I am afraid that I must add another point to this list, even though it takes it beyond a baker’s dozen. (I have been tempted to add other points, but this one is too big to resist.)

#14. Palin will eventually prove to be a bad choice for VP, especially after McCain promised to be very careful in his selection due to his age. Given the sheer political nature of this choice (i.e., to gain votes), he will have to give up his slogan, Country First. Can you imagine the totally inexperienced Palin eyeball to eyeball with Putin? How about eyeball to eyeball with any senator, except for Alaska’s Ted Stevens, in the Senate? ( Just think for a moment about how the debate with Biden is going to go.) Hey, John, your answer to every problem is not to pick a pretty woman. Just because Cindy helped put expensive shoes on your feet….See “McCain Just Lost the Election with a Hail Mary (or Political Ambition 21, Country 0)” Link Here.

UPDATE, September 19, 2008.  Today I supply a brief point by point rebuttal to a commentor who disagrees with my list of reasons.  See, Comments.  Btw, “A Dozen Reasons Why McCain Won’t Win…” was originally published on May 15, 2008.  I believe that the list is holding up pretty well.  Even some of the points that have looked like they may not be on target in the past couple of weeks–for example, #4 regarding Change–should hold up as the race continues.  (In the case of #4, McCain will not be able to sell himself as the change candidate.  The economy will take care of that. )

13 thoughts

  1. Clinton takes Indiana by a ‘razor’ and Obama wins North Carolina by a huge margin. Nevertheless, Kentucky, Montana and West Virginia are still to come.

    The Democratic race for nomination is still very much alive – and most likely to be decided by superdelegates

    If you’re tired of waiting around for those super delegates to make a decision already, go to and push them to support Clinton or Obama

    If you haven’t done so yet, please write a message to each of your state’s superdelegates at

    Obama Supporters:

    Sending a note to current Obama supporters lets them know it’s appreciated, sending a note to current Clinton supporters can hopefully sway them to change their vote to Obama, and sending a note to the uncommitted folks will hopefully sway them to vote for Obama. It’s that easy…

    Clinton Supporters too …. !

    It takes a moment, but what’s a few minutes now worth to get Clinton in office?! Those are really worth !

    Sending a note to current Clinton supporters lets them know it’s appreciated, sending a note to current Obama supporters can hopefully sway them to change their vote to Clinton, and sending a note to the uncommitted folks will hopefully sway them to vote for Clinton. It’s that easy…

  2. I’m glad to see you mention the “My Friends” factor. Every time I hear him say that, in my head it gets translated to “you stupid suckers”.

  3. it’s that 13th reason…thanks, for writing it. I cringe every time I hear it. Now, I cannot abide it when an actual friend of mine says, “my friend”.

  4. “ is a great tool, I have contacted all my State Delegates for free through email, I have come accross another tool from the same company its also free and I can contact my lawmakers, apply for an absentee ballot & voter registration and on election day I can locate my polling places. Great tool…. use it”

  5. Gee, and today McCain moved ahead of the positive, inexperienced, dripping with money, non flip-flopper with no skeletons in the closet, above the crass and the crude and an economic wizard who would never address the public as “my friends”, our savior whose feet we kiss, Mr Obama, in the polls! What’s going on? I fainted, I fainted, when he spoke. There are ten guaranteed reasons he will win…just, pay no attention to the polls.

  6. Care to wager $20? I won’t wager more, as that would be taking advantage of you. And now for the republican response:

    1. The McBush factor. Granted Bush is unpopular, as is the war, but McCain supported the surge and its working so far. This might not be that big an issue.

    2. The Republican factor. Yes, all Republicans are hated and despised by all decent Americans everywhere. Aint it weird how we keep winning elections though?

    3. It is a sad but true fact of life that negative ads work. Obama knows this, and is doing it too.

    4. Change? Explain Biden?

    5. Money. You’re dreaming. Obama is feeling the cash crunch now. See comments about ‘anemic’ Illinois (sp?).
    Seems the Hillary fans arent contributing as much as they ‘should’. You might check out puma.pac for reasons why.

    6. Age. I will not hold your youth and inexperience against you. If youre too young to remember those words youre too young to be making predictions.

    7. Flip flops. Both sides are guilty.

    8. Organization. The only thing Obama has proved is that he is more organized than Hillary. He’s in the big leagues now. See answer 2.

    9. Skeletons. I’ll see your keating and raise you a Wright and Ayers. What do you think is going to have more impact on voters?

    10. Anger Ok, you got me there.

    11. Crass, crude and vile? Try “pig wearing lipstick”. Its Obama who is in the news for outraging voters, not McCain.

    12. Economics. Ok, you got me there too.

    13. My friends. Its only an issue if you really dont like the man to begin with. Undecided voters wont decide on something that simple.

    14. Palin. 4 western states that Obama was trying for are now off the table. How is this a bad choice for McCain? Experience? More than Obama.

    Send me an email with your mailing address if you want your $20, and I’ll send you mine 😉

  7. Rebezold:

    Thanks for you comments. I am not sure that we can talk about actual bets in a semi-public forum, but believe me, I would be willing to bet more than a $20. (In a sense I already have in terms of campaign contributions.)

    As to your actual points, sorry, but almost all of them don’t pan out, and you yourself acknowledge that I’ve “got you” on #12, economics, which is the most important point on the list. (See my blog, “It’s the Economy Stupid, TAKE TWO.”)

    But just so you don’t think that I am being dismissive, very quickly, here goes:

    1. The war is still in an issue, but my comment was not just about Bush’s tie to McCain over the war. It was about seeing them as twins, which extends from the war to other fronts. This will still work in Obama’s favor.

    2. You should have used the past tense; Republicans had been winning elections. The last congressional elections and the recent special elections suggest that this is no longer the case. Dollars to donuts the Democrats pick up several Senate and many House seats this coming election.

    3. Yes, negative ads work, but my point was that the type of negative campaign that they pulled against Kerry won’t work this time around. So far this has been true. The Obama people have been better at responding and the mood of the country is different.

    4. Obama is at the top of the ticket, not Biden, and Change has been the campaign’s mantra from the get go. And Biden is a team player. In addition, Biden has favored progressive legislation.

    5. Yes, it may be true the Obama will not have tons more money than McCain, but unlike previous elections, the Democrat’s presidential nominee will be competitive or have even more than the Republican’s. 66 million for Obama in August was pretty good.

    6. I am not holding age against McCain. I was clear about that. My point was that many in the electorate are queasy about his age, especially given his illnesses. If only three or four percent of the voters end up taking this issue seriously, it will hurt McCain, perhaps fatally.

    7. McCain is more guilty of flip-flops than Obama, and more has been expected of him as Mr. Straight-Talk. I hold to my view that his flip-flopping is especially bad news for him. Just watch how his position on the economy damages him in the coming weeks. (Also, he is not only flip-flopping, he and Palin have been caught lying.)

    8. Obama’s ground game is far superior to McCain’s. Just wait till election day. (You can also look at how they have been spending resources on the ground game thus far.)

    9. McCain’s skeletons are far more serious, especially with the economic melt down. People will now start to talk about the Savings and Loan scandal again, and ghosts of of the Keating five could reappear.

    10. Anger, we agree it seems.

    11. Unlike Obama, McCain has actually said vile and offensive things, especially about women. Before this election is over, more Americans will find out.

    12. We agree on economics. This is the kiss of death for McCain at this time.

    13. Yes, it’s true, the “My Friends” comment probably won’t change many people’s minds, but it might make those who oppose him work harder. It’s pretty nauseating.

    14. Palin’s bubble is bursting because people are realizing that she is a bit of a bubble-head and a liar. The polls are already indicating that she may actually hurt McCain in the end.

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