1- Subconscious torpedo theory aside, can we imagine the Punditsphere if President Clinton had not campaigned this year? Equally easy to hypothesize the headlines - he doesn't really want her to win (a la Gore in 2000); Hilary's advisors demonstrate their lack of political savvy by keeping such a popular former President on the shelf... maybe the answer is simpler, to quote Nancy Cartwright/Bart Simpson.
2- Begging to differ with Hubblog, but I have a hard time imagining independent voters (other than journalists overly familiar with the sausage factory of American politics) allowing the current McCain business to become a determinant factor in voting (absent dramatic developments) ... for a few reasons.
One: independents turned off by lobbyists are already going to vote for Obama.
Two: in the privacy of the voting booth, how many voters are really turned off by politicians who hang out with lobbyists? Contemporary America is now a land of advocates and middlemen - lawyers, advertisers, consultants, etc. Why isn't John Edwards (an advocate himself posting as enemy of the advocates) still in the Presidential race?
Thinking pragmatically, and not philosophically, for a moment: government makes many important decisions. The bigger the government, the more decisions to be made.... so, enter the advocates and the middlemen. I suspect most voters grasp this logic.
Three: the issues on which this election will play out has not really come into focus ("change" is too high-level). But it's easier to imagine any or all of these being pivotal: Iraq; America's place in the world (still pretty high level); the economy; inflation; the value of my house and my 401(k). Hard to put garden-variety political lobbying ahead of any of this. (Don't Abramoff me... 2006 was also an election about Iraq).
3- I think the telling aspect of Mrs. Obama's quote was the "...first time in my adult lifetime..." When will somebody ask Mrs Obama about her pride in the USA pre-Ivy leagues?
4- Keeping expectations low in light of his recent performance and health, we might find some satisfaction in this signing during the long hot baseball summer...