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4:15 PM, Feb 11, 2008 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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John Podhoretz:

It is a great irony that the best political news for Republicans in a notably unfavorable election year - with the public telling pollsters that it is desirous of change and prefers Democratic stands on most issues by margins ranging from ten to twenty points - may come out of Iraq. Should the surge's progress continue and deepen, the Democratic nominee may find himself or herself in a very uncomfortable position come autumn. The Democratic base will not have changed its mind about the war's evil, and it will not be happy with a leader who does. So the nominee will find it almost impossible to embrace the surge, and certainly not after having disparaged it caustically in the past. But if the nominee does not embrace the real possibility of victory in Iraq, he or she will run the risk of appearing defeatist, or worse, in the eyes of the same independent voters who fled the GOP in droves in 2006.

In other words: everything rides on Iraq. As it has since September 2002, when Bush took his case to the United Nations.

Run, don't walk, to read Podhoretz's entire piece.