I realized something the other day about the John McCain's and Barack Obama's speaking styles. No doubt every other sentient being on Earth and even a few Republicans realized this months ago, but here you go anyway: When John McCain discusses what he will do as president, he always says things like, "I know how to save the economy," or "I know how to get Bin Laden," or "I will clean up Washington." Obama says, "We can make the changes we need to get America back on track," or "We can rise to the challenges we face."
My Lovely and Talented Seven-Year-Old Daughter Who is Smarter Than Me™ says, "Duh, Daddy! That's because McCain thinks everyone but him is stupid."
Maybe - I wouldn't try to read McCain's mind even if I had the ability. I think it's damp, dark and scary in there. But at the risk of dropping George Lakoff's name for 1,238,724,893rd time on the Internet, I think it does reflect the GOP's core marketing/campaign style - we're the Daddy party, we're gonna protect you from the big bad (insert name of largely fictional bugbear here). The problem is that if you're going to market someone as a savior, you need that someone to be up to the task. Frankly, McCain isn't that reassuring a presence and I think that's one of the reasons his campaign is floundering. (To a lesser degree, I think the Democrats tried to push Kerry as a savior figure in '04, and failed for much the same reason.)
Of course, one of the digs the GOP always tries to make about Obama is that he's become something of a messianic figure for Democrats. I don't think that's entirely accurate; support for Obama among the Democrats I know isn't nearly as monolithic as Republicans like to think it is. Obama has created a core group of true believers, though. As I see it, this is because he has inspired those people to work for him rather than frightened them into following him. It's a different approach than we've seen in American politics lately, and I'll be interested to see if he can bring the same approach to governing.