John McCain is starting a California campaign that might already be over.
The Republican presidential candidate opens a handful of political offices this week in the nation's most populous state, the historical turf of Reagan and Nixon that in recent years has become a Democratic fortress in presidential contests.
A few problems with this plan for McSame, as the writer points out throughout the article:
First: It's your party's president and your policies, stupid!
The Arizona senator boasts that he can win California's 55 electoral votes, the biggest prize on Nov. 4, but he's running as the Republican successor to GOP President George Bush, whose approval rating is at an all-time low in the state. Three of four voters say the nation is on the wrong track, and McCain's opposition to abortion rights and his support for the Iraq war and offshore drilling leave him out of step with a potentially decisive swath of Californians.
Second: The Hispanic vote, and the trends in party registration
A Republican hasn't carried the state in a presidential contest in two decades, and Al Gore and John Kerry notched double-digit victories here. Democratic voter registration is inching up, while the Republican slice of the electorate is shrinking. The growing ranks of Hispanic voters - possibly 20 percent of the California vote this November - tilt Democratic.
Third: Money, money, money!
Beyond the political environment - McCain campaign manager Rick Davis calls it "among the worst in modern history for Republicans" - McCain's biggest problem in California could be a tight budget.
Television is typically the only way to reach voters across the vast state, home to 38 million people. A statewide run of TV ads can cost several million dollars a week, and those prices could be an impediment for McCain in a race where Obama is expected to have a financial edge.
McCain "is likely to get outspent 2-1 nationally. He's going to have to be very careful about which states he targets," said Michael Schroeder, a former state Republican chairman who was political director for Mitt Romney's California campaign.
But don't tell that to dumb and dumber....