Strike up the band, queue the fat lady, stick a fork in John McCain, this election is over.

I’ve been thinking about this piece in my head for a week or more, and last night as Mother Nature toyed with my emotions and delayed my beloved Phillies from ending a 25-year championship drought here in Philadelphia I thought more about it, and finally I decided this morning, one week from election day, that John McCain has lost.

How he lost isn’t all that complicated, but it’s not simple either. Here’s my take:

Firstly, the environment for any Republican right now is a bad one. The registrations for the Democratic Party have swelled in the last several years, to the point of a near double-digit lead in the number of registered Democrats versus registered Republicans. McCain is the proverbial salmon swimming against the current.

Secondly, McCain has really run a poor campaign. Several people have said that there never seemed to be a clear strategy in his run, and that the only thing they were 100% for was winning, and the only thing they were 100% against was losing. From the conventions on, it seemed the McCain campaign would just throw a bunch of things out there in the hopes that something would work. Nothing really gained much traction until the “Joe the Plumber” routine, and that appears to be too little, too late.

The third major factor is Sarah Palin. Palin has gone from the anointed savior of the McCain campaign to trying to save face quicker than you can say “mooseburgers”. McCain’s advisers tried to keep her away from the press, knowing she wasn’t ready, and have resorted to now calling her a ‘rogue’ and a ‘diva’ that won’t listen. Palin, for her part, may see that the ship is going down and is looking for a life raft with ‘2012’ painted on the side. I know social conservatives adore her, and I understand that she has appeal to that part of the GOP, but if McCain had to pick her to get them to vote for her, he was done before he started.

I for one found the pick of Sarah Palin beyond reckless, and it was the final nail in the coffin of the v2000 John McCain I admired, cementing the v2008 John McCain – a guy that seems to only care about winning. I think she made Dan Quayle look like Abraham Lincoln and was a desperation pick by McCain. And now she appears to have thrown in the towel and is angling for a favorable position in the 2012 GOP primaries.

Sarah Palin may grow into a legit candidate down the line, but when someone is declared a winner strictly because she managed not to look bad, as was the case in the VP debate, you really have issues beyond a base that doesn’t trust you.

Timing has been another issue that has hurt John McCain. The Russia/Georgia incident, which likely drove the Obama decision to pick Joe Biden, which falls under the foreign affairs policy area that is in McCain’s wheelhouse, came early in the campaign and did not persist.

On the other hand, the financial industry taking a dump, a failed bailout plan, and the specter of a global recession had hurt John McCain, who has admitted his weakness on areas involving the economy. The Obama campaign jumped all over this issue, and, not surprisingly, blew up in the state and national polls, gaining a lead he still holds just seven days before the Big Show.

But the closers to this deal are simple – money and ground game. Obama has an absolutely dominating advantage in both of these areas. Obama likely won this election when he opted out of public campaign funding. As painful as this admission is, I have to give credit to PD’s bleeding liberal, Patrick Keegan, who pretty much nailed the result when Obama first opted out of public funding. This exchange between Keegan and Jason specifically was interesting:

Does or does this not reflect poorly that the pure candidate of change he broke a promise?

I certainly agree it reflects poorly in the short term, and I’m sure it will get brought up plenty. But the fact that he’ll have a lot more money to play with, I think he’ll be able to bury it.

Do you agree with the decision?

Yes and no. I think politically he took a short-term hit, but in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t an issue people are going to care about when compared to Iraq, oil and the economy. Personally, I don’t like that he went against his word, but I’m not as hung up on Obama as a “agent of change” or a “candidate of hope” as other are. I just don’t want another Republican President.

Don’t you wish he’d kept his word and pledged to beat McCain in the system they’ve both supported?

Again, see above. Emotionally, yes.

Tactically? I think the move will pay off. Literally.

In the end, John Q. Public isn’t going to care about this issue. This won’t make people that will vote for him not, or vice versa. And those that haven’t made up their mind yet will be carpet bombed with TV ads made possible by not taking the funds.

In essence, Obama is, as Joe Citizen pointed out, buying this election. He is crushing McCain on the air, via the internet, and even with text messages. His ground game, the machine that will get the Democratic vote out, is by all accounts one of the strongest ever assembled.

I make no pretense that I’m not really going out on a limb here, and I’m sure I’ll get some flack from some of the more conservative denizens of PD, but just as when I said John McCain would win the nomination in January, I’m just calling it like I see it.

In a week and a day, I guess we’ll know.