A few weeks ago, I asserted that the real danger for Democrats this summer was not injuring one another playing hardball politics but in nominating the most unapologetically liberal candidate since George McGovern.

During the past three weeks, this analysis has become ubiquitous.

The Democrats have committed a foolish strategic error, which they cannot easily repair. However, despite our growing euphoric optimism, we should not lose sight of where we really are.

No matter what happens between now and August, this remains a Democratic year.

The eventual Democratic candidate of 2008 will run buoyed by intense George W. Bush fatigue. The electorate is restless with an unpopular five-year war with no end in sight, and the uncertainty concerning the economy always plays in favor of the out-party.

The eventual Democratic candidate of 2008 will run against a presumptive Republican nominee who is seventy-one-years-old, who is admittedly inexpert on the economic questions, and who stubbornly (albeit bravely) advocates extending the five-year war indefinitely.

Bottom Line. Incontrovertible Fact. This is a good year to run as a Democrat.

Other things to consider:

1. When Obama finally clinches the nomination, he will receive a tremendous bounce. All the bad will be forgotten, and the new storyline will be the impending "rout" on McCain.

2. Even with the ongoing love affair that is Obama and the national press corps, the Clintons retain enough power and possibility to influence media coverage right now. This will not be true of John McCain during the fall election. Barack Obama will enjoy protection from the mainstream media from Labor Day through the first Tuesday in November. Don't hold your breath waiting for George Stephanopoulos to ask irritating questions of the Democratic nominee during the homestretch. On the other hand, John McCain will face withering wall-to-wall coverage of every gaffe, potential hypocritical anomaly, and every ache and pain.

The media onslaught aimed at McCain is going to be brutal.

3. Finally, while McCain appeals to moderates, conservatives continue to revile him. Of course, they are closer to him philosophically than Obama or Clinton--but that may not be the question.

Conservatism (and right-wing talkers) do well with conservative leaders, and they do well with a liberal leader against whom they may fulminate, but "moderate" Republicans are much more troublesome.

Will conservatives get on board the McCain train? Only if it is in their interest. Does a McCain presidency further the interest of movement conservatism? The answer to that question will very likely determine the election.

Because the Democrats have erred so egregiously, Republicans have a chance. But is only a slim chance. A long General Election night for the GOP remains the most likely scenario in our future.