From Daniel LarisonThe American Conservative:

Did McCain suddenly become [bold mine-DL] a stumbling failure? ~Michael Gerson

Not at all. He didn’t become anything that he hadn’t been for the months and years that he was campaigning before mid-September. There was no strange transmutation after the financial crisis broke into open view. He had been what he recently showed himself to be–Gerson’s phrase of ”stumbling failure” is pretty close to right–but most were too enamored, too deferential or too sympathetic to mention it. Give McCain a break–there may be other things at which he would have excelled, and there might be things he does very well, but demonstrating political leadership in the clutch isn’t one of them. It is probably true that there was no chance for McCain once the crisis began. Difficult conditions for a representative of the incumbent party became simply impossible. That doesn’t mean that McCain has not steadily, daily contributed to his own defeat, because he clearly has. If his response to the war in Georgia alarmed many of us, his response to the financial crisis was simply horrifying for almost everyone. We are constantly told by certain pundits, including Gerson, that this is still a center-right country, but at the same time Gerson wants us to think that it should be to McCain’s credit that he was merely tied with someone widely considered a left-liberal inexperienced novice. This story doesn’t hold up. If McCain’s admirers are right about Obama’s inexperience and the public’s doubts about his leadership, what does it say about McCain that he could barely close the gap with his convention bounce and almost immediately fell behind again?

Source: Eunomia » This Game Doesn’t Build Character, It Reveals It