On Iraq, Times Catches Democrats Changing the Subject

As success on the ground in Iraq becomes undeniable, reporter Patrick Healy sees a "tonal shift" among Democrats.

What gives? On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, some among the Times' liberal readership no doubt got early indigestion from the paper's front-page headline, "Baghdad Starts to Exhale as Security Improves."

This Sunday reporter Patrick Healy took the domestic political angle, looking at how the current success on the ground in Iraq is playing among the Democrats running for president, in "As Democrats See Iraq Gains, A Shift in Tone - Domestic Issues Given a Heavier Emphasis."

"As violence declines in Baghdad, the leading Democratic presidential candidates are undertaking a new and challenging balancing act on Iraq: acknowledging that success, trying to shift the focus to the lack of political progress there, and highlighting more domestic concerns like health care and the economy."


"Lately, as the killing in Baghdad and other areas has declined, the Democratic candidates have been dwelling less on the results of the troop escalation than on the lack of new government accords in Iraq - a tonal shift from last summer and fall when American military commanders were preparing to testify before Congress asking for more time to allow the surge to show results.

"This is a delicate matter. By saying the effects of the troop escalation have not led to a healthier political environment, the candidates are tacitly acknowledging that the additional troops have, in fact, made a difference on the ground - a viewpoint many Democratic voters might not embrace."

It's quite a "tonal shift" for the Times itself, which just over a month ago declared in the lead sentence to a lead editorial:

"The news out of Iraq just keeps getting worse."

And liberal blogger Kevin Drum is "pissed off" about Healy's report.