WaPo's Robert Samuelson leads with instructions not to "believe all the hype about the 'credit crunch.' Not yet, anyway." He warns, of course, that the economy could get worse next year, depending on a lot of things. But he he closes with this:
Global Insight has one of the many computer models that calibrate voting behavior with the economy's performance. The model has picked the winner of the popular vote in 13 of the past 15 presidential elections (it missed 1968 and 1976). Right now, the Republican and Democratic candidates are, putting Iraq aside, dead even.
"Iraq aside." I'm going to buck the conventional wisdom and argue that, unless Iraq goes spectacularly to hell next year, it won't be much of a factor in the presidential election. Both major candidates will run left (or right) on Iraq, depending on how poorly (or well) things are going there. Both major candidates will run (nothing parenthetical needed here) far, far away from President Bush.
We'll have a better idea what the military-political situation in Iraq is going to look like once the post-"surge" drawdown begins in earnest next April. Until then, pretty much everybody has made up their minds, one way or the other--and might not even change after April comes and goes. So I don't expect Iraq to serve as much more than red-meat campaign lines for the hardcore 20% on each extreme.
Also at WaPo, Ruth Marcus hosts a debate between Paul Krugman and Paul Krugman. Guess who loses?
UPDATE: Krugman defends himself at his NYT blog. Who's been paying enough attention to Krugman or the Times the last couple years to know Krugman has a blog there?
Frankly, I didn't read close enough to tell you which Krugman is right. But I did scan enough to know that his blog sure makes him sound like a whiny little thing.