Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Can't Get the Spot Out, Peter

Peter Beinart, who should take the advice of the King of Spain:

The candidates mentioned the war, to be sure. But it never took center stage. And with the first primaries just weeks away, that's become the norm: Iraq wasn't a major focus at last week's Republican YouTube debate either. In the biggest surprise of the campaign so far, the election that almost everyone thought would be about Iraq is turning out not to be. And that explains a lot about which candidates are on the rise and which ones are starting to fall.

The reason Iraq is fading is simple: Not as many people are dying there. Fewer deaths mean fewer front-page stories, and fewer front-page stories mean less discussion on the cable shows, which were pretty sick of the topic already. Turn on the television these days, and you're more likely to think America is at war with illegal immigrants than with insurgents in the heart of the Middle East.

And that's showing up in the polls. Between June and November, according to NBC and the Wall Street Journal, the percentage of Americans citing Iraq as their top priority fell eight points. A Post survey recently reported a six-point decline since September. When a CNN/WMUR news poll asked the same question of likely New Hampshire voters last month, it found that the percentage of Republicans citing Iraq had dropped 14 points since June. Among Democrats, the drop was 16 points.


Iraq could make a political comeback, or it could be supplanted by another frightening post-Sept. 11 topic such as Pakistan or Iran. But right now, it's the biggest non-story of the campaign. No wonder Mike Huckabee is smiling.

Poll out today:

WASHINGTON — Growing anxiety over the economy, health care and immigration rival Iraq as the central issues in the presidential campaign, shifting an election landscape once dominated by the war.

In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday, the Iraq war still tops the list of issues cited as most important. It's raised twice as often as the next-ranking issue, the economy. In April, however, the war was cited three times more than any other issue.

The Village is desperate to push Iraq under the rug, to pretend it didn't happen, and most importantly to pretend that no one cares. There is some relative decline in the importance of Iraq, but only Villagers could imagine the issue which is "raised twice as often as the next-ranking issue" as the most important as a "non-story" in the campaign.