Agree, although "some measure of functional success" is an understatement in my opinion. You are not going to get the most efficient and powerful programs out of Visual Basic or PHP, but rather tons of useful applications of lesser status in a short period of time. While the former is crucial and glamorous, the later is just as important to say the least. Take the world we live in--almost all state-of-the-art products we see on newspapers will not see common usage until years later, and by the time they do they will certainly be considered outdated. Will we say the appliances we use everyday as less important just because they are not state-of-the-art? On the other hand, the fact that state-of-the-art products are not popular does not make them any less important.
This ties back to where Python should head. A good and important programming language need not be popular, just as popular and important languages need not be good ones. How important is being popular? For mass appeal--if that is the way to go--Python has to be easy to use. That includes better documentation, more support from hosting solutions and crucially sacrifice in times "the right way to do things". If in the worst scenario Python goes down to history as a good, important but not popular language, is that something for us to regret? I am not saying that nothing should be done, but just that popularity should not be seen as essential.