The Karl Rove Jedi Mind Trick on John Kerry has backfired: The smartest man in politics (or in American life writ large) is leaving the campaign trail.
I'm coming back to Washington today so that I'm not a distraction, because I don't want to be a distraction to these campaigns.
Meanwhile, traders on election futures markets have soaked in the Kerry story and exhaled a long, bored sigh. The odds on Republicans holding onto Congress are unchanged since Sunday, which in turn are unchanged from last week: Thirty-four percent on them keeping the House, seventy-three on them keeping the Senate. With Kerry off the trail, and without Democrats sweating as he takes the stage with them, the story's dead, although Republicans (like Bush in a scheduled Rush Limbaugh interview today) will try to give it oxygen for another 24 hours. This is the al Qaqaa of 2006: A story that seems incredibly hot in the haze of election week, but ended up only wasting a day or so of the campaign.
But for a good time, check out the pro-GOP blogs. I think they're going to start breaking into newsrooms and changing around the hot type if the papers don't start putting a president's attack on a junior Massachusetts senator on A1.
I think this is my favorite overheated rant of the moment, from Michael Ledeen:
Nothing at all on the front page of the WSJ, quite disgraceful. In case you wondered about the WSJ newsroom, the main political story is an allegation of graft against a Republican congressman. A story that should have been delayed until after the election. Talk about journalistic ethics! Get a new editor for the news section.
You'd think Ledeen would be pissed about Kerry knocking the reports of good news of Iraq off the front page.