Ken Silverstein poses the question to Nate Silver:

McCain doesn’t get enough credit. This is the guy Kerry almost picked as his running mate in 2004. He has a lot of crossover appeal; he’s perceived as a maverick and a moderate; and he has a good story–he’s a war hero. A lot of Democrats kind of like him. All along he was the only Republican candidate who was in range of Obama or Clinton. Any other Republican would have been running ten or fifteen points behind at this point.

Agreed. But precisely because of that, McCain's disgraceful lies and smears and his selection of Sarah Palin are a huge risk. The very independents he used to appeal to cannot be enamored of Rove-politics and the most far-right, blank slate Christianist ever selected for the White House.

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