John McCain started the day as a presidential candidate slightly down in the polls. He’s had a rough couple of days, but the evaporation of his convention bounce and the early onset of disillusionment with Sarah Palin is nothing that 41 days of intense campaigning can’t rectify. McCain ended the day as, literally, a national joke. I think he’s done.

Really. This is one unforced error atop another. The McCain campaign is now suggesting suspending the Biden-Palin debate. It’s almost as if they think that compounding the initial mistake would wash the whole thing clean. Did McCain hire Bob Shrum and not tell anyone?

I’d qualify this statement, but not being a campaign reporter, I don’t really care about preserving a non-existent reputation. John McCain lost the election today. He looks erratic, panicked, utterly unable to assess a situation for what it is and mistaken about what his relationship to the electorate is. The only question at this point is how McCain rehabilitates his post-defeat reputation and continues in public life even as a fraction of the statesman he used to be.

Update: Jesse kills it.