1. When the Republican is campaigning in places like North Carolina and Virginia in the middle of October — well, not such a great year for Republicans . . .
2. Funny that the Iraq War seems just about absent in this campaign. It was supposed to be the big issue. Now it is barely a thought. There’s the financial crisis, of course. But even financial crises shouldn’t totally overwhelm wars. It is the Republican who is trying to raise the issue, saying that a President Obama would “concede defeat” in Iraq.
Yes, it is a big, big issue — success or failure in Iraq. Or it ought to be a big issue. A colleague of mine raised an interesting point the other day: Is McCain a victim, in a way — a political victim — of progress made in the Iraq War? The better it goes, the less it’s in the news . . . (For my recent multipart reporting journal on Iraq, go here.)
3. The closer you get to Election Day, the more it seems you hear about race — the terrible, unsettling issue of race. Charles Krauthammer had an excellent column on the subject: here. And I explore it in Impromptus today, here. (This is an expansion of a recent magazine piece.)
4. I had intended three, but can I lay a fourth point on you? When Sarah Palin appeared on the scene, she was a threat to the Obama ascendancy. So she had to be crushed. Democrats and their media allies have done a pretty good job of that. Then “Joe the Plumber” appeared, and he was a bit of a threat — just a bit. So he, too, had to come in for the political treatment (to put it nicely).
What can McCain and Palin do to make the case for themselves in these last days? Whatever they do, let them do it with abandon — with fearlessness — and also with a sense of joy. See what happens.