Team Maverick hoists the white flag

They’re surrendering Michigan. And Allah is right, Pennsylvania’s next. It’s over. Get used to saying, “President Obama.”

Earlier today, I started to do a poll roundup, then got distracted and didn’t finish it. Why bother now? Crazy Cousin John has already given up.

That’s why he was so bitter and sarcastic in that Associated Press interview. Last week’s idiotic gesture — “Suspend the campaign! Cancel the debate! Pass the bailout!” — blew up in his face and destroyed all rational hope that he can win on Nov. 4. So now he’s looking around for scapegoats, and any reporter (or columnist) who gets within range will do.

Pathetic. Three weeks ago, McCain led by 3 points in the Real Clear Politics average (and one poll showed him +1 in Michigan). A week later, when the polls started to slip, he freaked out and tried to blame the mortgage meltdown on SEC Chairman Chris Cox. When that didn’t work, and with his poll numbers slipping even further, he decided to take ownership of the unpopular $700 billion bailout.

Look, I’ve been following politics since 1968 when I was (believe it or not) a staunch 9-year-old Hubert Humphrey booster. I know a losing campaign when I see one and, having more than a few friends who are political operatives, I know what goes on inside a losing campaign.

The top people inside a losing campaign know the final score long before it becomes apparent to outsiders. Ask anybody who was involved in the Bob Dole ’96 campaign. After Labor Day, they were just going through the motions, playing out the season, collecting a paycheck.

The top folks at Maverick HQ — who in early September were thinking about what their positions might be in the McCain administration’s transition team — are now on Travelocity, booking their Caribbean vacations for the second week in November. They will furiously deny this of course, but the ability to lie through one’s teeth with apparent sincerity is a prerequisite to being a professional political operative.

Do not be deceived, then, by “here’s-how-we-can-win” talk coming from Maverick HQ or the Republican talking heads you see on Fox News. Do not get your hopes up by letting Hugh Hewitt or Sean Hannity draw you into their miracle-comeback fantasy talk. Ain’t gonna happen.

Alas, I am a sucker for miracle-comeback fantasies. So if, at any point in the next 32 days, it should appear that I’m being sucked into an optimism vortex, please remind me of this post, where I append this time-capsule note to my near-future self:

Hey, idiot, get a grip! That latest tiny bump in Maverick’s poll numbers in Ohio and Colorado is a glitch, a statistical anomaly, and is insufficient cause to ignore every previous indicator of the impending Obama landslide. And why the heck should you care, anyway, since you swore a blood oath on Feb. 7 that you were going to vote Libertarian this year? Or did you forget that, too, you moron?

I feel better now. There is peace in pessimism.

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