Face it, Barack Obama began to fizzle even before Sarah Palin began to sizzle.
When the devoted gathered at the Kohl Center back in February, I went to see for myself what this wunderkind of American politics was all about. I was impressed by what I saw and heard and took a lot of heat from my conservative friends for saying so publicly.
But the primaries were all about style; the general is all about substance.
Even in the primaries, Obama couldn't sustain his Wisconsin breakthrough with white Americans and blue-collar voters, who delivered wins to Hillary in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. Obama will have trouble with these same voting blocs in November, especially given the Jeremiah Wright sermons and Bill Ayers association.
John Kerry lost the 2004 election after being hammered with the wind-surfing and swift-boat ads in August of that year. Obama may have suffered a similar fate this past August when he was lounging on a beach in Hawaii and being morphed into the underachieving brother of Paris Hilton back on the mainland.
Are Democrats incapable of learning from their mistakes? Or do they simply enjoy losing?
This presidential election should be a cakewalk for Democrats, with an unpopular incumbent president, an economy sliding backwards toward 1929 and sky-high energy and food prices.
But so far, things aren't turning their way.
Americans know in their gut that raising taxes when the economy is crumbling all around them is not a good idea. They know tapping into domestic crude oil and natural gas reserves in service of energy independence is a good idea.
Then there's poor Joe Biden, decades in Washington with nothing much to distinguish his time there beyond not knowing when to shut up.
As a young law student, Biden was accused of plagiarism at Syracuse Law School. During his 1988 campaign for president, he used a speech (word for word) by British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock as his own.
Twenty years later and speaking at his VP coming-out party in Illinois in August, Biden said: "These are not ordinary times, and this is not an ordinary election." Good line - lifted, word for word and without attribution, from Robert Kennedy's announcement of his presidential candidacy on March 16, 1968.
Once a plagiarist, always a plagiarist.
There's a lot to like about Barack Obama. He's the most gifted speaker of his generation, blessed with a wonderful family. But the corrosive notion that he's famous for being famous, and little else, is beginning to exact a toll on many voters.
The question remains whether Obama, a former community organizer with no real executive experience, is ready to lead the Free World in a dangerous time, and whether he's the most qualified person to take charge of a national economy in meltdown.
As columnist Charles Krauthammer recently wrote: "The palpable apprehension is that the anointed is a stranger - a deeply engaging, elegant, brilliant stranger with whom the Democrats had a torrid affair. Having slowly woken up, they see the ring and wonder who exactly they married."