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Mccain's Fragile Candidacy

The piece in today's Times about McCain's tentative rapprochement with the House GOP reminded me again how fragile his candidacy is. Conservatives and establishment Republicans are eager to embrace him because he's pretty much the only member of their party who'd have a chance of winning in November. But you get the strong impression that their affinity for his campaign runs no deeper than the strategic rationale for it. And that, if it suddenly looked like his chances were dropping--after, say, three or four weeks of polling showing him down double-digits to the Democratic candidate late this summer--conservatives and Republicans would jump ship.

This quote especially stood out for me:

“Will there be an issue or two where we are going to be out of step? Sure. But we were with the Bush administration,” Mr. Boehner said. “The fact is that McCain is in a very solid position to win the White House, and Republicans are united around him.”

Something tells me the pronouncement is a lot more conditional on that "very solid position" than even Boehner makes it out to be.

My guess is McCain either wins by a hair or loses by a big margin. I don't think there's a middle ground for him.

--Noam Scheiber