Now that the battle for the Republican presidential nomination is drifting to a close, no Democrat should assume the long, drawn-out trashing of Mitt Romney by his competitors is a guarantee that he will be a loser in November.
Think about where we were four years ago at this time. Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were locked in a struggle whose outcome was far more in doubt than was ever the case for Republicans this year. The race would grind on to the last primary in June when, finally, Obama sealed the deal.
There were those who thought John McCain might benefit from this, since he wrapped up the GOP nomination early, but, in fact, all the attention on the Democrats probably did him no good. McCain largely disappeared from view for most of the spring while passions on the Democratic side built a head of steam that eventually carried them to victory in November.
The dynamic of the 2012 campiagn is different, of course. The supporters of Obama and Clinton in 2008 were giddy with the prospect of making history by electing either the country's first non-white president or the first woman. The hallmark of this year's GOP contest has been how displeased most Republicans have seemed to be with any of their choices.