The Democratic Party swept to power in 2006 based largely on using Iraq as an albatross around the necks of their Republican opponents.
Their original plans for the White House in 2008 centered around much of the same strategy. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), while in opposition to the President in many things, has been a strong supporter of the war and the "surge" from the very beginning.
The Democratic mantra of "we can't win, and in fact, we've already lost" has become so entrenched in the minds of most Americans that it's nearly impossible for them to see anything else.
And, if that were true, it would be a disaster for John McCain.
But, it's not true at all. The story in Iraq is getting amazingly better. Almost day-by-day. Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been nearly defeated, and Iraqis are largely handling the final stages themselves with Americans relegated to a supporting role.
And you'd think that would be good news for John McCain.
You'd be wrong.
In some ways, Iraq has become too much of a success story. And while the truth of that makes the Democratic party look ridiculous, no one knows. And no one's going to know. And if they do know, they're not going to care.
When was the last time you saw something significant about Iraq in the news?
That's because the only news coming out of Iraq right now is good news.
Which largely takes the issue off the table for the 2008 elections.
John McCain's strength is foreign policy and experience. His weakness is domestic policy and the economy.
With Iraq doing so well and not being in the news, it's an "out of sight, out of mind" situation for most Americans. Currently Americans are far more worried about the economy than the situation in Iraq.
Which makes things much easier for Senator Barack Obama.
McCain must find a way to make the point that he's been right about Iraq all along, and his opponent has been wrong, and that there's still plenty more to do to ensure stability there. Further, he must make it clear that it's foolish to expect someone who's been wrong on Iraq all along to suddenly get things right. Lastly, he has to make all of this evident to an American public that is far more concerned about their jobs and their wallets.