Ross wrote:

Whereas Obama and to a lesser extent Edwards both have a higher ceiling, but also a much lower floor, since neither has been through the fire already the way Hillary has (indeed, Obama has never run against significant GOP opposition of any kind), and either one could flame out disastrously in the heat of a general-election campaign.

Perhaps I am missing something, but it isn’t clear to me why Obama has a higher ceiling of support than Clinton.  Lower floor, sure, but why higher ceiling?  The enthusiasm he generates is mostly limited to journalists and progressive and independent twenty and thirtysomething professionals.  That is, people who write things like this.  Obama must appear as a god for people who feel “overwhelmed” by the plethora of do-gooding crusades that confront them, because he promises to take them all on at the same time.  That’s a sure sign that he would probably be a terrible President in the strange events that he won the nomination and general election.  

Amusingly, he has assumed the role of a tribune for these people, when his avowed style of governance would be a kind of High Broderism on steroids–the very thing many of the young progressives who adore him claim to loathe.  His promise of “change” and unconventional thinking is shrouded in mists of warmed-over cliches about unity, bipartisanship and pragmatic “problem-solving.”  He is just radical enough to frighten away a large majority of voters, and just boring enough to inspire too few to take a chance. 

His campaign style thus far actually makes tapioca pudding seem zesty and exciting by comparison.  His “attack” rhetoric takes a page from Rumpole of the Bailey, in that he is intimidated by She Who Must Not Be Named.  If he is so readily outmatched by a fairly passive Clinton campaign (and he clearly is), how on earth would he compete with a GOP machine designed to drive up its opponent’s negatives?  By talking about hope?