I decided this morning that it is very unlikely that either of the leading Democrats can beat McCain. His main advantages at present are:
1. Barack Obama
2. Hillary Clinton
3. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton
The whole Pastor Wright story is hurting Obama in the polls, but let us not forget the measurable influence of the Bradley-Wilder-Obama Effect, in which polls overstate his support. In primaries - especially in large and competitive states - he is getting creamed by Clinton. It is his huge lead in caucuses that is giving him the edge. When the electorate is wide and gets to vote in secret, Obama loses. A few days ago I was convinced he would get hammered in PA and that North Carolina would be closer than expected. A Clinton win there would tip the whole balance of the campaign, and I was beginning to think it was a real possibility. It still is possible. Wright is surely hurting him in reality much more than in the polls.
And then came the Bosnia story. This is an advert in the making. Her voiceover describing the events to footage of the actual events is devastating. We are left with only two possible explanations: that she lies out of deeply ingrained habit, and most importantly that she lies about the whole 'experience' meme on which she has built her entire campaign; or that she is a fabulist who has completely lost touch with reality. This is the question that kills her campaign: "when you said that about Bosnia, did you believe, even for a moment, that what you were saying was true?" If so, then we just have to keep that woman's finger off the big red button. If she genuinely cannot distinguish reality from her own fantasies, she is beyond dangerous. But what is the alternative answer? That, no, she didn't believe a word she was saying? There is simply no acceptable answer to that question.
And the third factor that gives McCain the edge is this. The Democrat campaign just keeps going on. McCain doesn't have to talk about Jeremiah Wright. Clinton will. McCain doesn't have to talk about Bosnia. Obama will.