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Mccain Is Not Toast

I'm seeing a lot of pundits declare that John McCain committed political suicide with his campaign suspension. Now, I'm not going to argue that this is more than a cynical stunt, one likely borne of desperation about polling trends, and one which may yet resoundingly flop. But I would remind people that McCain has been toast before. He was cooked in mid-summer, after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki embraced an Obama-like timetable for a US troop withdrawal. Except he wasn't. He was finished when he absurdly chose the inexperienced Governor of Alaska--Alaska?--to be his running mate. Or not quite. And now he's doomed his campaign again. Except he's probably hasn't; I very much doubt most Americans are going to condemn him for a process-related gimmick. (The substance of how the bailout comes together and where he's positioned at the end of the day is another matter.) The race may have been slipping away from McCain regardless, and were I to bet I certainly wouldn't put money on him to win in November. But I do think he's demonstrated a better sense of what works politically and what doesn't than a lot of the pundits who constantly pull the sheet over his head. It's a cliche but it's true: The man is a survivor.

--Michael Crowley