There's been a fair amount speculation here and elsewhere that John McCain's increasingly frequent attacks on Barack Obama may be not only (or even primarily) early general-election shots, but rather efforts to sabotage Obama's primary chances and increase the odds that McCain's Democratic opponent is the (presumably weaker) Hillary Clinton.

But I wonder at what point McCain's attacks might begin to accomplish the opposite purpose. That is, by treating Obama as his Democratic opponent, does he begin to marginalize Clinton and make Obama's victory seem more inevitable? It will be interesting to follow, but the more McCain treats Obama as his general-election foe, the more the public (and Democratic voters) may begin to think of Obama as his general-election foe, which could be more bad news for Hillary Clinton.

--Christopher Orr