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Does Eleanor Clift Speak for the Country?

On the McLaughlin Group this weekend there was this heated exchange between Eleanor Clift and Tony Blankley on the War in Iraq.

CLIFT: The country has come to the conclusion that this (Iraq) is a failure. I think that is evident in the polls.

BLANKLEY: Don't speak for the country Eleanor. You have been losing elections for decades.

This was a great comeback by Blankley, but beyond the immediate smack down there is a kernel of insight in the exchange that exposes a significant Democratic weakness. Eleanor Clift has no doubt in her mind that the country thinks Iraq is a failure - because she and most of her MSM colleagues think it is a failure and they spend their hours in that self-reinforcing bubble. Media polls that then take the public's temperature on Iraq at a static time, with questions that are usually constructed less than favorably toward the Bush administration, are then offered as proof of the public's conclusion on U.S. Iraq policy.

It was this type of thinking that led the Democrats to their presidential strategy in 2004. Democrats, under the misguided assumption that it was a foregone conclusion that Iraq and Bush were failures, thought all they had to do was nominate anyone but Howard Dean and they would walk away with the presidency. The idea that the majority of the country might not agree with their conclusion about the war or Bush never seriously occurred to them.

So here we are in 2006 and Democrats and many in the media elite are convinced the public thinks Iraq is an utter failure and Bush is incompetent. And we are beginning to get straight-lined observations that Democrats are poised for big gains in November. Well, we'll see. Eleanor Clift may know what is going to happen in Iraq over the next year, but I don't. Given just how awful the media coverage has been out of Iraq, I wouldn't discount the possibility that the situation improves over the next eight months as we head into the mid-term elections.

Multiple different forces are aligning to give the Democrats a credible shot to recapture the House this fall, but Democrats should be wary. In the last two election cycles their poll-driven analyses in March, April and May haven't translated into November wins.