After his slide in the polls, PD horserace, and the money contest, plenty of people have started to write off John McCain’s presidential chances, even wondering if he’ll drop out. Here’s why he’s not done yet:

The pro-life vote. The abortion question is the biggest problem for the three frontrunners. After some flip-flopping, Rudy has admitted he is pro-choice. While Romney is still posing as a devout pro-lifer, his recent conversion reeks of opportunism. And the great conservative hope, Fred Thompson, “doesn’t recall” his lobbying on behalf of a pro-choice organization. It’s shocking to me that so much of the media thinks any of these three can get out of a GOP primary with those records on abortion. While McCain has never been the darling of the right, he now has a real chance to win the backing of pro-life groups, if only by default. Many of these groups have serious influence, power, and of course, money. If pro-life groups get scared of the possibility of a Giuliani presidency and get behind McCain, it would give new life to his candidacy.

Primary voters like to play it safe. McCain is the candidate who is the best-known, most battle-tested, and most likely to win Dems and indie voters. While campaigns always bring out new faces, when the actual election comes around, voters usually move back to the safe, “electable” choice. In 2000, he was the upstart maverick. Now he’s the establishment guy falling behind the new horses. In the long run, that might not be such a bad thing.

It’s July. Unexpected events happen in every election, and this primary field looks even more volatile than most. McCain’s having his meltdown now, which leaves six months before Iowa for the others to screw up. Yeah, he’s clearly fallen to fourth place. But he’s also running behind a philandering actor, a cross-dressing New York City mayor, and a Mormon from Massachusetts. The chances of one, or all three, of these guys imploding are ridiclously high. McCain would have to be crazy to drop out now.

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