At this point it's clear that the next president is going to be Barack Obama. Running against John McCain is like drawing Arizona in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament. Even if Obama somehow managed to squander his mammoth cumulative swing state lead, for instance declaring he'll raise taxes for anyone whose last name starts with an A-M, McCain will probably figure out a way to stay irrelevant.
The thing is, no one really wants McCain to be president. His base just doesn't want Obama in the White House. It's a losing strategy, and exactly why John Kerry wasn't able to get past Bush. McCain is a placeholder, a patsy - nothing more than a harbinger to the truly frightening prospect of a 2012 Palin presidential run. Watching the debate tonight I sort of got the sense that McCain is starting to understand his lot. He's done, and just running out the clock, putting on a good show so all his donors don't feel like they wasted their money.
So now we just have to hope that there's some substance behind Obama's rhetoric. He'll get the job because he talked a good game and has the appeal of a wildcard. After dealing with eight years of rotten hands, we're collectively pushing everything into the discard pile and asking for a new deal. Obama could be a new JFK, or at least a Bill Clinton, or he could lead us into another Depression.