[U]nlike on other issues, neither Hillary Clinton nor any of her rivals could afford to wait before talking about their plans for Iraq. As a result, the frontrunner has a stated position on Iraq today that's really based on the year-old Baker-Hamilton proposals. Worse, because nobody wants to be seen as "flip-flopping" and because everyone knows you tack left during the primaries and then right during the general election, she's all-but-guaranteed to have a platform in October 2008 that was really designed for the circumstances of December 2006 and doesn't reflect either the evolving situation on the ground or the evolving thinking of policy people, including some of her own advisors. And, indeed, though Edwards and Obama have both staked out positions I like somewhat better than Clinton's, the same basic dynamic of stasis will, I think, apply with nobody wanting to recalibrate their statements on Iraq (lest such a recalibration spawn a thousand process stories) even though this is precisely the sort of issue where people need to be constantly re-evaluating their ideas to see if they still make sense in light of changes in the objective situation.
Although as a Stump commenter pointed out last night, increasing stability in Iraq doesn't necessarily undercut Democratic calls for withdrawal. It could also provide fodder for the argument that a massive occupation isn't needed anymore--although if Bush starts a mild draw-down and conditions worsen (as seems likely), that argument fizzles.