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Iraq And '08, Continued

Ezra Klein (again) offers a counterintuitive argument about the possibility that Iraq might be slightly improving. (Disclaimer: Obviously, Iraq has been a catastrophe and we're a thousand miles from anything resembling "success.") Contra Joe Klein (and a vaguer stab I took several days ago), he doesn't believe this bodes poorly for Democrats:

The better Iraq is doing, the less of an issue it will be in the election. The less of an issue it is in the election, the more issues like the health care crisis, the mortgage meltdown, inequality, and global warming will come to the fore.  Indeed, the less Iraq dominates the agenda, the more alternative foreign policy visions can emerge, and be tested, and become the new context for the discussion  All that is good for the Left.

Personally I don't really buy it. I'd say the less time Republicans spend on the defensive over Iraq, the more time and effort they can put into rebuilding their brand on core issues like taxes and social values. And it's just hard to see some of the left's most galvanizing figures whipping up the public with these issues quite the way they did even a year ago. (Can you imagine an eight-minute Keith Olbermann commentary on inequality?) Ultimately it's unpredictable, of course, but my guess is that Ezra's being a little too optimistic. Which, by the way, is not at all the same as saying the GOP is going to turn Iraq into a winning issue in '08....

--Michael Crowley