Here is a hypothetical possibility that we cannot rule out. It is predicated on two possible ifs.
If late in August Obama is ahead in the national polls by double digits, say 52-40, and equally ahead in the Electoral College by say 290 to 170; and if Obama’s fundraising is just cruising along, as expected, to where he will ultimately raise $300 million to $400 million versus McCain’s $85 million from the Treasury; then McCain is going to have to gamble and throw a Hail Mary pass to get himself back into the race.
Already the above scenario is taking shape.
Obama opted out of the federal election system because he knows he can raise that $300 million, or more, from his 1.5 million regular donors.
He is setting up shop in all 50 states with paid staffers — an unheard of development for Democrats. He is really going for a big win in a big year for the Democrats. He is already airing a very effective new bio ad in 22 states, including several like Montana, North Dakota and Georgia which normally are ceded to the GOP. But clearly Obama has the money and the will to stress the McCain operation by expanding the states he will make a serious attempt to win.
MoveOn.org’s very effective ‘Baby Alex’ ad is also rocking the McCain campaign. While airing nationally on cable and in just a few states locally, this type of independent expenditure used to be the specialty of conservative groups. But not this year! Apparently there is no anti-Obama money lining up to take on the Democrats this year. McCain, who castigated the 527s in the past, will have none helping him this year. Sweet justice, eh?
So, with all of the above in force this year, McCain by the end of August may do the following:
Once the Olympics are over and Obama has made his veep selection (the Democratic Convention is the last week of August and the GOP’s is Sept. 1-4), McCain will be a desperate candidate. His last chance to become president will be slipping away from him.
He will be facing a fall campaign in which he is swamped by a better-funded candidate who is playing in states that McCain is now having trouble defending. He will see the possibility of getting blown out and of being a forgotten loser-for-all-time like Bob Dole, Mike Dukakis, and George McGovern.
So he will need to do the unexpected: He will seriously contemplate selecting New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg as his running mate.
Because once he is on the ticket Bloomberg can then write out a check for $500 million for the campaign and the McCain/Bloomberg ticket suddenly can outspend Obama by two-to-one! But would it work?
Bloomberg left the GOP in a huff two years ago and the thought of the Republican Party nominating an apostate for veep is indeed hard to believe. But it is also hard to believe that McCain is the GOP nominee. Nothing should surprise us this year. Bloomberg is even more liberal than Obama. He is pro-choice, pro-high tax and way ‘out there’ on many issues. But he would spend the money, and McCain and he are friends.
Will McCain do this?
He just might if he is trailing badly in the polls and in fundraising. And, if he did it, he’d have the money to compete. But it would seem so transparent and phony as to cause McCain to lose by an even larger margin.
Still, don’t rule this out. It is a wacky year.
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