For a short while, I really did fear that the celebrity novelty of Palin would be enough to propel the Republicans to the White House. It isn't that Americans are stupid per se (well, okay, a lot of 'em are dumb as rocks); it's just that Americans are so easily distracted. You can sucker the voters for a little while, with shiny objects, with pretty pictures, even with fear, but it doesn't last forever. Sooner or later, folks start thinking and asking questions. And we in the netroots played a crucial role in framing and posing these questions.
My own personal take on the race right now is that McCain-Palin has peaked. This isn't to say the race is over, but with the debates on the horizon, there will be few opportunities to shape public opinion and re-mold the narrative. And, of course, having Wall Street melt down snapped everyone back to attention real fast. I don't think voters will be focused on trivial nonsense from here on out. And if we go to the polls and vote on the issues, Obama wins. It's really that simple.
Again, don't get lazy and assume it's all over. It's going to be another close race. It probably always was going to be close. But I think we're through the worst of it.