If John McCain fails in his bid for the White House, one of the many reasons may be his lack of a master campaign strategist. Although Democrats sometimes exaggerated the impact and influence of Karl Rove, there's no doubt that he was one of the keys that helped Bush prevail in two close contests. His understanding of the ground game, strategic vision, and organization were second to none in the world of politics.
Now even Rove may not have been able to overcome all the headwinds that the McCain campaign has had to struggle against this year. But when you compare the message discipline and get out the vote efforts of the two Bush campaigns with the current McCain effort, you find the latter lacking.
It also doesn't help that the Democrats have finally found someone with a Rove-like political acumen in David Axelrod. He's done a brilliant job so far packaging the promise of Obama (because really what else is there?) in a carefully choreographed manner that has kept the campaign on focus and on message.
If the McCain was going to have any hope of beating Obama, Axelrod, and the Democratic tide this year he needed to have someone with Rove's political genius guiding his campaign. Unfortunately, such bright lights are few and far between.
UPDATE-- A day late, but still great minds and whatnot:
But the job of a campaign is to put their candidate in a position to win with the electorate as it's possible to understand it, not with some hypothetical electorate that might emerge to save you from the fate that all the indicators predicted. Rove succeeded at that task; the McCain campaign appears to have failed.