It's The War, Stupid

Chris Cillizza writes up an interesting Third Way study aiming to understand the demographic and opinion profile of the voters who backed Democrats in 2006 but not in 2004. This turns out to be a fairly Third Way-ish group of people -- whiter, maler, and richer than average.

What's interesting, is that they say Dems won these people over not primarily by moving right on economics or on culture, but on the strength of hostility to the Iraq War. To me, at least, this continues to be the key to the 2008 election; Democrats need to put forward a credible national security message that doesn't let the GOP nominee weasel away from things and just distance himself from Bush personally. The opposition party needs to be able to make the case that Iraq has turned out disastrously because it was the consequence of a disastrous strategy for the country, a strategy Republicans favor and that Democrats propose to replace with a different, better strategy.