During the most awkwardly conceived exercise of Washington Post self-promotion in recent memory, ace national security reporter Dana Priest responded to a question on Iraq's importance in the 2008 elections:

Obama started out more radical and, as we have seen, is moving to the center. My bet would be that McCain drops his surge idea--too difficult to pull off right now--and both candidate will end up with positions that are even more similar. Iraq will become less and less of a major election issue as this happens (except the left will disown Obama as they have begun to do. But they have no where else to go (exception Nader, like I said) so it won't matter.

Priest has broken some huge stories as a reporter, but this kind of analysis is ridiculous. Almost nothing in that paragraph is right. This Broderian fantasy that Iraq will lose its importance as these two candidates end up with similar positions, flying in the face of all fact, is of a kind with most pundits' refusal to admit that Hillary Clinton's position on the Iraq war had a lot to do with her loss in the primaries. Unfortunately, it's really driving the narrative. Thank goodness for this.

--Tim Fernholz

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