Not so in­evitable

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“While Democrats have been sali­vat­ing for more than a year about mak­ing the ’08 race a ref­er­en­dum on out­go­ing Bush and the war in Iraq, McCain’s cam­paign has suc­ceeded in mak­ing the elec­tion as much about Obama. And the Repub­li­can has bril­liantly turned Obama’s celebrity sta­tus, big crowds and me­dia in­fat­u­a­tion into a syn­onym for shal­low­ness,” Stu­art Rothen­berg writes in Roll Call.

“A four-day love­fest in Den­ver is likely to en­er­gize Democrats at­tend­ing the event and the mil­lions of oth­ers who will fol­low it through the me­dia, con­vinc­ing all that a Demo­cratic victory is nearly in­evitable. That’s what hap­pened in Los An­ge­les in 2000 and four years later in Bos­ton, when first Al Gore and then Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) ac­cepted their party’s nom­i­na­tions,” Mr. Rothen­berg said.

“Given that, it’s very un­likely that even a sin­gle Demo­cratic del­e­gate will leave Den­ver on [Aug. 29] be­liev­ing that Obama will lose. But the more im­por­tant ques­tion is whether two months from now Democrats will be so cer­tain of victory, or whether they will start to won­der if they se­lected a nom­i­nee who made them feel good about them­selves but lacked one or two of the ba­sic qual­i­ties that vot­ers are looking for in a com­man­der in chief.

“For many un­de­cided Amer­i­can vot­ers, the ques­tion is likely to be a sim­ple one: Do they feel comfortable with Obama sit­ting in the Oval Of­fice, mak­ing de­ci­sions that will af­fect peo­ple’s lives, in­clud­ing the na­tion’s se­cu­rity?

“Only a few months ago, it was Clin­ton’s cam­paign rais­ing ques­tions about Obama’s readi­ness for the pres­i­dency. McCain has picked up that mes­sage and de­liv­ered it re­peat­edly and with con­sid­er­able ef­fec­tive­ness. The Illi­nois Demo­crat needs to ad­dress that prob­lem quickly, and he’ll need more than soar­ing rhetoric about change and unity to be suc­cess­ful.”

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