Obama is right tracking his campaign some. He's going after women voters now (should have been doing it for months), hitting McCain in the right spots, generally doing a capable job. I'd give his campaign a D to date; if he keeps stepping it up he might get to C, although with all the wind at his back he ought to be farther ahead. The McCain campaign gets a B-. They have the right focus, know what it takes to win, but the mechanics of their campaigning aren't what they could be (it's tough to run a campaign into a headwind), and McCain is a pretty piss poor vehicle for their talents. I have little respect for Bush, but compared to McCain the man is the Michael Jordan of politics.
If this were almost any other year, Obama's poor campaigning until the last week or so would have doomed him. McCain's themes and narratives would have taken over, and Obama would be another Dukakis. But it's not any other year.
With all this bad news out there breaking Obama's way, I expect some kind of wild attempt at distraction, but it's going to have to be one hell of a trick to get the focus off the economic meltdown, plus McCain is pretty fixed in the media's mind as a desperate liar now, which makes his task much harder. Speaking of desperate liars, every time I hear someone talking about Palin in the rapturous tones the wingnuts use, I think of those shirts from the 80s that said "I'm with stupid" with an arrow pointing left or right. Except the arrow is pointing up, ie, at their own head. Palin isn't stupid, but she's a stupid person's politician, practicing a stupid person's politics, and she seems to do it sincerely, which is the real problem. The same could be said of Bush, except he really is stupid in many ways, especially morally, and he was never sincere about much of anything except his own ambition. Anyway, I got to thinking of Palin, and her unfortunate relations with the press corps, and I realized they think of her as a very, very poor man's Bill Clinton. To them, she's white trash, except she doesn't have the Rhodes pedigree. She's never going to have that Bush/McCain kind of thing with the press, because they despise her, despise her sincere, but stupid politics, despise (and fear) the people she represents. Bush could be counted on to pay lip service to those people while actually serving the big money interests he (and the press) cared about; the wannabe book burner Palin cannot be trusted to do that. A while ago some liberals were concerned she'd be the new Ronald Reagan, which, even then, struck me as absurd. Considering what we've seen since then, it strikes me as even more absurd. She's a flavor of the month, one of those really goofy flavors that you try once or twice, and then sort of forget about in favor of some old favorite.