Rasmussen: McCain 48, Hillary 40; McCain 47, Obama 41

Also known as “the other reason to prefer McCain.” Don’t take the Obama poll too seriously: I think the only candidate left on either side who can beat him is Hillary. Like Steyn says, Romney has no narrative and a contest of “young, gifted, and black vs. old, cranky, and weathered” does not redound to our advantage. Obama’s dynamism on the stump plus the media halo he’ll be wearing plus the left’s inevitable bad-faith eagerness to turn each and every Republican criticism of him into a coded racial attack (see, e.g., the distortion of Clinton’s “fairy tale” comment) makes for very long odds. It’s Hillary or bust, baby.

So let’s take your temperature with another meaningless, predictable blog poll. You’re all angry this morning about McCain winning so we’re going to get probably ~40% voting “stay home,” even though 90% of those people will turn out for Maverick anyway after they’re fed a steady diet this summer of Democratic slanders and reminders that no, in fact, when it comes to the war — which much of the base claims is its top concern — Hillary Clinton does not equal John McCain. The CW among McCain-haters is that if we’re going to elect someone with a disastrous liberal domestic agenda we might as well make it a Democrat so that the Republican brand isn’t tainted by association. But even if you’re willing to flush Iraq down the toilet, is that true? Congress will share the blame and they’ll be deep blue, and McCain is already sufficiently vilified as a RINO within the party that any leftish moves can be dismissed as “we told you so.” If the worst comes to pass and he betrays conservatism in office, it’s not so much a fatal corruption of Republicanism as it is “proof” that centrists can’t be trusted and the next wave needs to get back to basics. And with McCain, contra Hillary, there’s at least a chance of exerting some influence over him. Yeah, he wants amnesty, but political circumstances may be such the next time it comes up that he has to veto it because he needs the support of the base on some other policy matter. None of which is to say he should be preferred to Romney, only that he should be preferred to a Democrat. But go ahead and take the poll(s) because I know you’re dying to scratch that “stay home” itch. Troops out by 2009!