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The Sunday Paper (Election Edition)

FL_soldiers_112407.jpgHere's an excerpt from a story running in Military.com's headlines today:

Now that violence in Iraq is abating and other issues are consuming more of the presidential debates, political activists are wondering if the war will prove to be the defining issue that Democrats have long assumed.

Some Democrats say frustrated voters have given up on altering President Bush's handling of the war, and will make Republicans pay in 2008. Others say Democratic candidates are stubbornly and dangerously out of step with an improving situation, and their most promising campaign issue may prove far less potent by next November.

Polls show clearly that most Americans have soured on the war, causing Bush's second-term approval ratings to plummet as congressional Republicans anxiously eye the next election. But it's less clear how many voters are so unalterably angry that they cannot be influenced by other campaign issues, assuming Iraq does not take another dramatic turn for the worse.

While the Iraq situation is somewhat fluid, the top Democratic presidential contenders are locked in their Iraq-is-a-disaster message because anti-war voters play such a huge role in the party's primaries, several politicians said. It's possible the message will sound a bit off-key by mid-2008.

"The Democratic Party has become emotionally invested in a narrative of defeat and retreat in Iraq - reluctant to acknowledge the progress our troops are now achieving," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, a hawkish independent from Connecticut who was the Democrats' vice presidential nominee in 2000. "If Democrats don't take off their ideological and partisan blinders," he said, "they risk compromising our national security and losing next year's election."

So I'm reading this along with stories like this one suggesting we've turned a corner of sorts in Iraq and I'm wondering whether the war will ultimately be the deciding issue of the 2008 election.What do you think?

--Ward

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