2) While we're on the subject of the Iraq War as a political albatross you gotta check out Frank Rich's latest column, which takes a wry look at the seemingly obvious storylines being ignored by the political press and true believers alike...
Now that the Beltway establishment, jolted by the Iowa polls, is
frantically revising its premature blueprints for a Clinton coronation and
declaring, as Time’s inevitable cliché would have it, that Mr. Obama has “found his voice,” it’s worth looking at some campaign story lines that have been ignored so far. They tell us more than the hyped scenarios that have fallen apart. Indeed, they flip
the standard narrative of Campaign 2008 on its head: Were Mr. Obama to best Mrs. Clinton for the Democratic nomination, he may prove harder for the Republicans
to rally against and defeat than the all-powerful, battle-tested Clinton
The unspoken truth is that the Clinton machine is not being
battle-tested at all by the Democratic primary process. When Mrs.
Clinton accused John Edwards of “throwing mud” and “personally” attacking
her in a sharp policy exchange in one debate, the press didn’t challenge the
absurd hyperbole of her claim. In reality, neither Mr. Edwards nor any other
Democratic competitor will ever hit her with the real, personal mud being
stockpiled by the right. But if she’s getting a bye now, she will not from the
Republican standard-bearer, whoever he may be. Clinton-bashing is the last
shared article of faith (and last area of indisputable G.O.P. competence) that
could yet unite the fractured and dispirited conservative electorate.
Personally I've found it rather entertaining watching the media trying to shape the story (Hillary is unbeatable, Guiliani is a credible candidate, Thompson is Reaganeasque) independent of the numerous realities on the ground (that Hillary is utterly unelectable, Guiliani will be dragged down by his collection of closeted skeletons, Thompson is as Reaganesque as I am) with the exception of Frank, who seems to grasp the storylines even better than I do (ya see it's our abiding awareness and fascination with the popular culture that gives us an edge in this crucial area*...).
* Crucial because it's ALL about the story, a fact the Republicans have known this for some time.