We may see in front of us the consequences of the so-called "momentum". And we may see it enough to determine how it consists: confidence. John McCain lost his confidence few weeks ago. He is not convincing because, and perhaps only because, he doesn't seem to be convinced anymore.
While Barack Obama staid focus, stuck to his lines, went on his campaign, without paying attention to the ups and downs of the polls, the Biden's blunders, nor the republican attacks, ending up making an impression of a ground swell moving on; John McCain seems to have tried to use a momentum to improve his campaign, surfing on the waves, going up, shooting from the hips, playing the maverick card when the polls backed him, and following them down with the financial meltdown. He now appears to be swept away. Hesitant, confused, doubtful.
His campaign had so much skill to take every opportunity, whatever their hypocrisy or their lies, from the forum of the faith, then the RNC Convention or the pick of Sarah Palin, to their arrogance in redefining the meaning of change to make it fit to McCain, which almost succeeded until the financial crisis. The last smart move was McCain's suspending his campaign. Too bad for him, he suspended his suspending. David Letterman's making fun at his hesitations announced the end.
The McCain strategy turns out now to reveal all its flaws.
McCain struggles hard to try to get back this momentum, this confidence, he needs to go on, but the opportunities become rare and the margins narrow. His last attempts sound desperate as his critical tone against George Bush to try to distance himself from him or his Joe the plumber gimmick, his repeating over and over Obama will increase taxes or also his playing the scaremonger card, throwing terrorism, race, confusion or anything in the garbage at Obama (check this page out to count how many McCain's ads are positives).
Today, on "Meet the Press" he seemed tired, unable to make a point anymore, struck. Does he think everything is lost yet? That's however how it felt.
Why can't McCain get back his coolness, his sense of humor, his straight to the point way of talking? Why didn't he stick to his line while his campaign suspension to make it believable? Why didn't he distance himself from George Bush way before, letting Sarah Palin talking to the republican base, which was the only thing she was useful to? Why all his qualities appear to be flaws?
The McCain campaign chose a short-run moves strategy, perfect to make a momentum up, but they turn out to be too short, while Barack Obama made a campaign on a long run, no fuss, no moves, which proves to be solid and reliable.
Are the McCain campaign advisers going to be able to throw one of those clever trick they are good at during the week before us?