Conservative strategists urged McCain to take of the gloves at last night's debate. That he did.
Conservative strategists urged McCain to finally mention Bill Ayers at last night's debate. That he did.
Conservative strategists urged McCain to mention the "ugly" attacks on him by people like John Lewis, at last night's debate. That he did.
Conservative strategists urged McCain to touch upon hot-button social issues, like abortion, at last night's debate. That he did.
So conservative strategists are very very happy today with McCain's performance, as are conservative voters.
Slight problem, though. In order to win this election, McCain needs to win people other than conservatives (who now represent a small minority of voters).
In other words, how does playing to McCain's base — who are voting for McCain anway — translate into a game-changing strategy? The answer is, of course, that it doesn't.
I get the sense that conservatives, like the Bush Administration itself, live in a self-validating bubble of Fox News, NRO, and Rush Limbaugh. They don't understand that the bubble is their world of choice, but not the world. They don't understand that for every one of them, there are five people not in that bubble, who are unpersuaded (if not outright turned off) by the very strategy that conservatives recommend of McCain.
You would think that, after seeing the flash polls last night and this morning showing an overwhelming Obama win among undecided voters, that conservative strategists and pundits might finally realize that the path to victory doesn't come from playing to the right fringe (or, for that matter, the left fringe). It comes from having broad appeal, something Obama has mastered, and McCain has avoided.
But no such luck. Conservative pundits simply can't understand why McCain is losing when he gets all conservative in America's face. But the answer is quite simple: America simply isn't as conservative as it once was. And given the governance of conservatives for the past eight years, and the current economic situation, "conservative" is, to many, an even uglier word than "liberal". The Palin strategy, which not only includes the selection of Palin as VP but the rhetoric of Palin, simply failed. Pure and simple.