I think some of these are correct but some are just hard to take sseoiurly.1. McCain didn't define himself with a central message. It was very muddled even in the primaries. The closest he had was foreign policy but that message became less significant as Iraq improved.1.a McCain engaged in some of the worst negative advertising in years. Lots of misleading and outright falsehoods. The problem wasn't negative advertising it was intelligent negative campaigning. What McCain needed to win were the independent and swing voters and it appeared that a lot of his negative campaigning especially once he became desperate did little and may have made things worse. Further many of the elements some conservatives were yelling at him to use against Obama were used by Clinton to no effect.1.b McCain was definitely weak responding to Obama's charges. The strongest one that he's just an other Bush McCain royally flubbed up. This was part of a larger problem of being unable to run successfully in such a manner as to distinguish himself from a disliked Republican congress and President.1.c McCain definitely should have defended some of his negative ads that were true. However merely quoting a news source is insufficient if the newsource is itself false. Something McCain faced in several negative ads. A little fact checking before running an ad would have helped him enormously. I'd disagree that McCain didn't change. I think he did although a lot of elements of the post-convention McCain were always there. One big reason I disliked him back in 2000. The press just had given McCain a big pass the prior decade because he didn't seem like a Republican and the press doesn't like Republicans. However given that strength it was idiotic for McCain to go anti-press as all that did is pissed off the press and made them treat him more harshly. A little bit of intelligence in how to deal with the press was in order. 2. This was his biggest flaw both in terms of the campaign and frankly in terms of being a candidate. After 8 years of Bush everyone wanted someone deliberative something Obama communicated. All of McCain's maverick acts merely communicated that he was Bush-like making his chances worse. Picking Palin without knowing her flaws was a huge mistake and I believe turned off as many independents as it motivated social conservatives. And McCain's flailing during the initial economic meltdown showed his lack of deliberation at its worst.3. I don't think it was opposition to fiscal policy that left him unprepared. It was basically having no economic or fiscal policy. His statement that he didn't get economics just made it worse. He had no answers. I think he could have provided a different philosophy here. The problem wasn't that he had a different view but that he had no economic view at all at a time when the economy was the central issue.4. The fact many conservatives dislike McCain certainly hurt. There were a large number of libertarians who fled to Obama. And a surprising number of economic conservatives as well. Surprisingly he did well with social conservatives who had in the past been some of his harshest critics. That was partially due to the choice of Obama but also Palin. There is no way Palin was the best thing. He shored up his bonafides with social conservatives and pissed off everyone else. Once Palin's ignorance (note: ignorance not unintelligence) became noted it was then that many conservatives started jumping ship. Having an uninspired choice in McCain then Palin pushed them over. Now had Palin also been articulate and well versed on national and international issues it would have been great. That she wasn't meant that the very people McCain needed to win became more distrustful of her. The second problem with Palin was that she created a huge schism in the campaign the very time they needed to be unified. There's a reason so many McCain campaign people are leaking pretty nasty stuff about Palin. Even if not all of it is true it illustrates the tensions in the campaign.I agree that experience wasn't a winning issue. But then I think people are overall far too harsh on McCain. Given the meteoric rise of Obama that even Clinton couldn't stop combined with a thoroughly disliked Republican leadership what is surprising isn't that McCain lost but that he kept the election so close. Given all the things going against McCain it's amazing he did as well as he did.