Three boulders emerge as the turning points in 2008: celebrity metaphor, the Palin effect, and financial crisis. The first emerges at the end of July and showered radioactive dust over the Democratic Party's election campaign until, five weeks later, Barack Obama demonstrated his hero bonafides at his convention speech. Immediately afterward, the newly hopeful Democratic campaign was knocked off balance again by the energy burst of Sarah Palin as she exploded on the national scene. Then, even as ship Obama succeeded in righting itself—the half-life of the Palin effect was shorter than celebrity metaphor—the financial crisis loomed suddenly like a giant iceberg threatening to capsize both campaigns. The Republican craft listed dangerously, the Democrats' hardly founders. By early October, the rushing stream of the election had divided, marking the effective end of the 2008 campaign.
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