Michael Barone notes that if McClellan had defeated Lincoln, the South would have won the Civil War, and uses this as an argument against replacing Bush in the middle of the war for Iraq. (I guess this is the official acknowledgement that “Mission Accomplished” is no longer the operative spin.)
But of course McClellan was running on a platform which virtually committed him to accepting defeat; this year’s Democratic Platform, it is safe to say, will make no such commitment.
Barone doesn’t attend to what seems to me a more compelling analogy. If Hitler had been killed or overthrown anytime between the fall of France in June of 1940 and the invasion of Russia a year later — leaving the conduct of the German side of World War II and its associated diplomacy to the highly competent professionals of the German armed forces and diplomatic corps — Germany would very probably have won.