Abe Greenwald today contends that John McCain has squandered the lead he developed after an exceedingly successful Republican convention, and he did it by slipping into slime-ball politics fresh off a clean-and-correct performance that got him to this point.

I couldn’t agree more.

Here’s Greenwald’s complete commentary.

Here’s the response I posted in comment to the story:

“You’re right. I don’t mind if McCain wants to come out tough and hard–this is a fight, after all, and it’s a fight with an opponent who plays dirty even by political standards. However, what will, in the end, win the day here is the maturity and wisdom of John McCain over the disingenuous pandering and street-thuggery of the amateur he’s facing in this election.

The simple fact is that for the Maverick image to stick, McCain has to be above the slime-ball tactics. He’s got to be tough but fair, direct but factual, and he can’t skirt the fringes of truth (as his campaign did with the “kindergarten” ad). The content of his advertising has to be more than just “true”…it has to be “legitimate”.

Claiming that the reason he’s now trailing in the polls is that he’s facing a hostile media, while (again) being true, is beside the point. THESE ARE THE RULES BY WHICH HE IS REQUIRED TO PLAY. All the whining in the world isn’t going to change his press coverage, and will only likely drive the press even further into the bag for Obama. McCain has to accept that this is the situation with which he’s presented, and find a reasonable way to succeed in spite of it, not fail because of it.

John McCain is never going to get the vote of the left, and he’s never going to lose the vote of the right. He must hold himself up, from this point forward, as a shining beacon to the MIDDLE GROUND. The fact is the middle doesn’t trust Barack Obama and they frankly don’t like him all that much. If McCain gets into the mud to scrap with him, the only thing they’ll have to choose from is two of a kind–that’s a battle Obama wins in this election cycle.

Besides, McCain has enough of us doing the “dirty” work for him–it’s time he removed himself from the hog pen.”

It should be noted here that unlike those who live and die with the polls (and are now wringing their hands that McCain has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory), I have absolutely no doubt who our next President is going to be, and his name ain’t Obama. Even given the general stupidity of a plurality of the American electorate (who, somehow, are registered Democrat), the fact is nobody is going to buy into this guy once that curtain closes. He’ll get the whacko leftists, but he’s going to lose the center and he had no chance whatsoever with anyone to the right of center because, let’s face it, he’s a fricken’ Commie. No real American is going to vote for Barack Obama, so McCain supporters can stop worrying. Still, McCain needs to REASSURE the middle, and those true Americans, that they’re not buying “more of the same”, as Obama would like to paint McCain. They want a Maverick, he needs to be that to them. WE WANT A MAVERICK–and we expect one now. It’s time for McCain to regain his horse and climb back aboard, find that high road and ride it to Washington…and send this Socialist opportunist back to Chicago where thugs and liars belong.