In a mostly gloomy and realistic assessment of the Republicans’ chances in the 2008 election, Fred Barnes spits out this gem.

There have been some improvements in political atmospherics for Republicans. The 2006 midterm election was framed by intense voter dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq. The 2008 election won’t be. The surge of American troops in Iraq hasn’t turned the war into a Republican asset, but it’s at least blunted it as an effective Democratic talking point.

This kind of muddled thinking is widespread in the beltway. This morning on Meet the Press the assembled talking meat sticks wondered aloud what had led to Hillary’s defeat. They recited Karen Tumulty’s Five Mistakes that Clinton Made.

1. She misread the mood and tried to run as a Washington insider/incumbent when the electorate was hungry for change.

2. Her strategists didn’t have a good understanding of the nomination rules. Allegedly, chief strategist Mark Penn was actually ignorant of the proportional allocation rule and thought just winning the big states would be enough to secure the nomination.

3. She underestimated the caucus states and chose not to put resources into them because she thought her core voters would be unlikely to caucus.

4. She relied on old money for fundraising and didn’t tap into the new modes of Internet fundraising.

5. She didn’t plan ahead for a long race and was very late to set up operations in states which voted after Super Tuesday.

After running down those five items, John Harwood chimed in to say that another factor was that Obama is a gifted politician. Whereupon Jerry Seib said that Obama was just a man for his time. Chris Cillizza added that people found Clinton dishonest. And Michelle Norris said that Obama had a consistent message while Clinton did not. Nowhere did any of these ass-clowns mention that Clinton voted to authorize the war while Obama spoke out against it. Nowhere did they mention the Kyl-Lieberman amendment that Clinton supported and Obama (rhetorically) opposed. Just like Fred Barnes, they refuse to understand that the strongest themes in the Democratic campaign are those spelled out by Obama:

“I don’t want to just end the war, but I want to end the mind-set that got us into war in the first place.”- Barack Obama

“The votes hadn’t even been counted in November [2006] before we heard reports that corporations were already recruiting lobbyists with Democratic connections to carry their water in the next Congress. That’s why it’s not enough to just change the players. We have to change the game…The truth is, we cannot change the way Washington works unless we first change the way Congress works.”- Barack Obama

Clinton made a lot of blunders. But if she had not authorized the war and if she didn’t represent the way Washington works, she would be the nominee.

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