The traditional media has seemingly gotten nearly every big picture analysis wrong this political season. For example, on February 20, 2008, the Washington Post reported that, while 2008 was “supposed to be the year of the Mountain West” for Democrats due to an anticipated Latino backlash against Republican attacks on undocumented immigrants, “the emergence of Sen. John McCain as the likely standard-bearer for the GOP may have scrambled the equation.” Reporter Jonathan Weisman suggested that McCain’s nomination would “cool a potential political revolt among Hispanics, sending Democrats in search of a new playbook.” What was the basis of such a conclusion? And has it come true? Read on …

The chief source of the Post’s confidence in McCain’s vote-pulling skills among Latinos was none other than the nominee’s campaign manager, Charlie Black. Black told the Post that “we nominated the one person who will not suffer that backlash.”

Another “objective” observer, Congressman Tom Cole—chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee—echoed Black’s comments. Speaking of the Democrats’ inability to win Latino votes in the region, Cole said: “they’d better look past the mountains and into the Pacific. I think John McCain is the Democrats’ worst nightmare come true.”

The Post allowed these self-serving comments to frame its story despite citing evidence from the New Democratic Network that 75% of the Latino vote in the primaries had gone to Democrats. The article also cited a Spanish saying cited by SEIU’s Eliseo Medina: “tell me who you are with and I’ll tell you who you are. McCain is hanging out with these guys.”

So who was right?

Latinos are currently going 69% for Democrats, and some believe that the final total will reach 70%. McCain is doing no better than a generic Republican. New Mexico seems solidly in Obama’s camp, and the Democrat is neck and neck in Nevada, Colorado and Florida.

Seems like the Post headline should have read: “McCain Cannot Rescue Latino Vote for GOP.”