The passion Obama inspired earlier this year was critical to his victory in the primaries. But it isn't what he needs now. The public is not looking for a political messiah. Indeed, the over-the-top adulation of Obama's most fervent admirers probably strikes some swing voters as creepy and cultish. What people want is a steady leader who looks out for their interests: safety, secure health care, higher wages, cheaper food and gas.
All year, polls have shown that the public would strongly prefer to elect a Democratic President in November. But Obama has been running only slightly ahead of McCain. Being a typical Democratic politician would not be a step down for Obama it would be a step up for him. The public knows that politicians are what they are, and that their rhetoric will not fill their bank accounts. They will see through Obama, and they will see through McCain, and in a Democratic year that will leave Obama ahead.