Like you, I expect no total melt down either way. But, frankly, I expect too little progress away from some of our impending meltdowns regardless, and one may very well come up in the next 4 years, but that’s another ocean
of fish. I will of course be pleased if nothing upsets the apple cart.
For a spell there, it did look like it was going to be tighter and I dreaded the thoughts of Obama trying to buy some insurance through a Biden step down/Hillary fill in. That I'll happily live without.
I don't think the Market Tank will ultimately be written into the history books as the main catalyst. First and foremost, I think the unpopularity of the Iraq war will be said to have been too big of a load to carry.
Palin, I think was a brilliant choice, but only in terms of a desperate move when a desperate measure was required. McCain was a two to one underdog coming into the DNC and the Democrats did come together there and do what needed to be done. McCain was set to tank into the abyss then; before he cunningly erased the entire DNC bounce with his Palin pick. That worked brilliantly.
Ultimately though, the excitement didn't really last, and unfortunately for McCain; she wasn't really ready for the tremendous promotion to the world stage. I'd say she did pretty well for a thinly experienced rookie from nowhere; but the task she was charged with required her to be extraordinary, not ordinary.
By contrast, Obama had the luxury of going with the safer, if boring, old white guy.
McCain didn't so much do it wrong; he just had too big of hill to climb to begin with. The silly campaign suspension stuff could have been used against him to greater affect, and it was silly, but it looks like Obama decided he didn't even need to exploit it.
At the end of the day; I don’t think they’ll say McCain did anything too terribly wrong. They’ll say Obama did it right, and never did anything too stupid to give up the lead he began with… stemming from the collective displeasure of our current President.
Not unlike four years ago; the Democrats had a limited number of choices that wouldn’t have been selected by the American people to be Bush’s successor. John Kerry was on that shortlist… and I believe Hillary Clinton would have proved to be as well.
This is all assuming this thing turns out the way it looks like it will.