The Republican party, through the vehicle of the Bush administration along with a mindless dedication to the twin deities of tax cutting and deregulation, has already left America with the legacy of an economic slump which could last half a generation, along with diplomatic and military declines which may be irreversible in our lifetimes. Most importantly, their antiscience agenda has retarded critical action on global warming so long that millions of lives and trillions of dollars of infrastructure and productivity worldwide will be lost in the coming decades.
McCain has a special, personal legacy to add to that. Remember how in 1972, and even in 1976, Ronald Reagan was a perennial joke candidate of the far Right, laughed at by even other Republicans? By 1980, he was the salvation of Republican party and the hero of modern conservatism. [ETA: vee_ecks corrects my political history in comments. Thank you for setting me straight.] Regardless of who wins this election, in 2012 and 2016, we may see a strong, credible Palin candidacy for president. Blame for that one, and the frightening possibility of a President Palin, may be McCain’s most enduring legacy, long after the venal dishonesty and say-anything opportunism of his current presidential campaign has faded from the public mind. I never thought I’d see anyone who could make Bush-43 look good, but Senator McCain has found her.
For whatever it’s worth, I hope like hell I’m deeply wrong about all of the above.