Once again we see people saying silly things while attempting to sound intelligent when talking about the election. In an effort to get ahead of the curve, Frank Rich writes a pre-mortem for the McCain campaign in today’s NYT. He argues McCain’s choices on the campaign trail — as opposed to President Bush’s unpopularity or the economy — have lead to his trailing Obama in most of the polls. With all due respect, Frank Rich is wrong on this count. If we look at the political science models predicting presidential elections, two of the key variables are the state of the economy and the sitting president’s approval rating. In fact, several use nothing but these measures. So while McCain’s campaign may have played a role in his current predicament, the structure of this year’s presidential election made a McCain victory a long shot to begin with.