plumber's crack derailed mccain's campaign / by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

As gracious as John McCain was in his concession speech, you may have noted that he left the analysis of what went wrong to the pundits. Herewith we take up the challenge of the Big Dog with the Bad Attitude. The weakness, it turns out, was something Warrior Ant Press likes to call, Plumber's crack. There was a huge plumber's crack running right through the middle of the campaign and it caused too many people, even his handlers, to turn away and not see the problem with their approach.

Back in 2000 the US Census Bureau asked folks to self-identify their ancestry. These results are shown on a county-by-county basis for the entire USA in the above map. Clicking on the map will allow you to explore it in greater detail. Here's the important story in the map. The light tan counties on the map are where the majority of a county identifies itself as being of American ancestry (whatever that is). This swatch, this plumber's crack runs from Texas through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Southern Missouri, and on into Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia. These areas were heavily Republican in the 2008 election; even more so than in the 2004 election.

However troubling the crack may be for some, the good news is that it continues to shrink. The problem with the Republicans was that they didn't see it as a crack in the first place. Or else they had their head in it and couldn't see out. More and more folks are referring to themselves as being of a different ancestory than American. I suspect an American ancestry means your family has been in the country long enough to forget, or not focus too heavily, on your ancestral heritage, but my guess if you ask these folks who they think they are what they'll mostly say is that they're white. The rest of the country identifies with an ancestory other than that of the nebulous American and sees itself outside of this issue of who is white and who is black, brown, or any other color. The Obama camp understood this simple demographic aspect and worked to unify the rest of the country.

If you look at a map of party voting shifts from 2004 to 2008, the only places that became more Republican in 2008 are the same places where the self-labeled Americans reside. This gets to several things. It speaks to the McCain/Palin idea of labeling their ardent supporters as being the real America. This same broad swatch has frequently been called the bible belt, still evident today but shrinking in influence for the country as a whole save the Republican Party base. Geographically, these areas represent but a small part of the country as a whole. A big problem with the McCain/Palin campaign was that they let themselves be high-jacked by a very small percentage of America - the conservative Christian base of the Republican party, les Americanos. It's not that big a place anymore. And it's not going to get bigger. Not in it's current iteration. In order for the Republicans to survive, they'll have to rethink what they're doing. Lose the Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage blow-hard approach to yelling at people and find something else to focus on.

I suggest the GOP begin to focus on domestic issues that matter to a much larger audience than just the top 1 percent who contribute so much to the RNC coffers. Instead they should be focusing on living wages, affordable housing and health-care, and helping small businesses grow. This is what Country First could mean and until it does, the Republicans will be playing on the sidelines and watching the Democrats try and make the world a better place. Let's hope they can make it happen.