Doesn't Nate know that what the polls say today necessarily dictate the results in November? What is he thinking?

Think how much different the conventional wisdom would be if Al Gore had won 300 more votes in Florida. Bush's strategy of rallying to the evangelical base would have been considered a failure, as would the Rovian politics of personal destruction. But instead, because of what was essentially a mathematical coin-flip -- the vote count was so close in Florida that nobody really knows who won -- these things are considered to be standard operating practice in any competent campaign.

In the absence of actual results, what opinion-makers look toward instead is polls. And presently, with John McCain holding a 1-2 point lead in most national polls, essentially every aspect of Barack Obama's campaign has come under intense scrutiny, whereas Steve Schmidt is regarded as some kind of savant. This is even worse than being results-oriented, because we don't yet know the ultimate effect of the choices the McCain campaign has made on November's results. Certain of their choices, such as their intensely negative campaign against Barack Obama and perhaps even their selection of Sarah Palin, may be short-term winners but long-term losers.

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