I don't want to jinx anything with a debate tonight. And I'll grant that my location in the dark heart of the People's Republic of Johnson County skews my perceptions.
But I think we'll look back on this election and see the middle of September as the turning point.
The other important comedian is David Letterman. McCain's visit on the show was just about the only campaign event that was "suspended," and Letterman had been exacting his revenge every night.
When you become the punchline to the jokes, the game's over.
In the subsequent three weeks, the GOP has panicked and retreated to what it know best: attack mode. But, and these may be cliches, but McCain is using the exact same attacks that failed for Hillary Clinton in the primary, and he conceded his strongest argument, experience, with the Palin pick.
From here on out this is about running up the score. It's about coattails. It's about the 58th and 59th and 60th Democratic Senators -- and, we hope, the 61st so we can finally consign Joe Lieberman to his own caucus of one. Georgia is in play, and in North Carolina Elizabeth Dole is a goner.
It's about House races on the bubble, like Judy Baker in Missouri 9 and Becky Greenwald in Iowa 4 and dozens -- yes, dozens -- of others. It retrospect, it almost seems like the Republicans saw this collapse coming, and the Palin pick was designed to hold the GOP base vote at x, rather than x minus y (y being a Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin or Stay At Home protest vote) to hold a few seats.
It's about making this a realigning year that finally kills off the Nixon-Reagan era Republican Southern Strategy and consigns the GOP to a Flags, Fags and Fetuses base from which recovery is impossible and reinvention is necessary. The Republicans won the battles of the 80s and 90s by pulling Democrats to the right and making us fight on their turf, and a big 2008 win followed by a 2012 landslide over a Palin or a Huckabee can do the same. I'd rather spend the 2010s battling a libertarian Republican Party than a theocratic Republican Party.