The Note: One-Issue Politics

WASHINGTON, Feb. 16

What issue is the House voting on today that will be a milestone in the enactment of the political death of the Bush Administration's major policy initiative?

What issue is currently bedeviling the presidential front-runners of both major parties like nothing else, in a way that fundamentally threatens their chances to be nominated?

What issue has already decimated the weekend travel schedules of many presidential candidates -- and threatens to do the same thing all year long, with more key votes coming? LINK

What issue causes many Republicans to say the White House will inevitably be lost to their party in 2008 and many Democratic hopefuls to assume that gaining their own party's nomination is tantamount to winning the presidency?

What issue has made SecDef Gates challenge on Iran that much tougher?

What issue has given Nancy Pelosi a chance to demonstrate that she can put competence in the service of ideology?

What issue has caused the Bush Administration to short-circuit SOP on other foreign policy matters, such as North Korea? LINK

What issue makes the prospect of Bush-Reid-Pelosi deals on immigration, education, health care, entitlements, energy, and/or competitiveness seem as likely as a Giuliani-Bloomberg ticket?

What issue has neutered the White-House-RNC-Republican leadership-Drudge-Fox News-Rush Daddy Party attack machine?

What issue is allowing liberal bloggers to acquire actual influence, currently hovering at around 1/119th the level of their own imagined influence?

What issue is creating the most tension between the Clinton-Obama camps and the Clinton-Edwards camps?

What issue on which Al Gore took an early and forceful position gives him the chance to enter the presidential race late, by surpassing Clinton on experience (simultaneously trumping Obama and Edwards), and surpassing Obama on early opposition (simultaneously trumping Clinton and Edwards)?

What issue gives candidates outside the Big 6 their best hope for getting media attention when they launch an attack from the left against one or more of the Big 3 within their party?

What issue can cause even the mild-mannered and fair-minded (such as Michael Beschloss) to be savaged by blogs and radio hosts if they rhetorically conflate it with the war on terror and the war in Afghanistan?

What issue has turned Martha Raddatz from one of the best and most influential political reporters in America to THE best and most influential political reporter in America -- and has allowed her to intimidate the unintimidatable George W. Bush?

What issue has allowed progressives to become positively Grover Norquistian in their capacity to ram wedge issues through state legislatures in order to pressure Washington? LINK

What issue has allowed Rep. Murtha to go from riches to rags to riches to…?

What issue creates a game of chicken for the Republicans 2008 Big 3, as each eyes the exit to figure out when there will be political advantage in being the first to call for peace with honor?

What issue has allowed Reps. Hoyer and Emanuel to demonstrate they understand the politics of symbolism and centrism?

What issue will allow columnists and historians to say without fear of contradiction (at least in their own minds) that the Bush Administration is an abject failure?

What issue dwarfs all others in inspiring emotion within the Democratic Party? (And remember that inspiring emotion in politics is nearly the whole enchilada.)

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