Here it is folks. Straight from that bastion of intellectual accuracy, the New York Times. Contributing reporters Jeff Zeleny and Christine Hauser seem to have observed a change in the political winds as campaigning Democrats are beginning to sense they may have painted themselves into a corner if the situation in Iraq continues to improve the way it has been.

The flipping will be fast a furious when the polls begin to show that moderate Americans are supporting the idea to see this through in order to establish a defensive and at least quasi-democratic presence in Iraq for strategic military and national security reasons…

Hillary photo op with troops in Iraq – Preparing for the inevitable flip…

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.Advisers to Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama say that the candidates have watched security conditions improve after the troop escalation in Iraq and concluded that it would be folly not to acknowledge those gains. At the same time, they are arguing that American casualties are still too high, that a quick withdrawal is the only way to end the war and that the so-called surge in additional troops has not paid off in political progress in Iraq.

But the changing situation suggests for the first time that the politics of the war could shift in the general election next year, particularly if the gains continue. While the Democratic candidates are continuing to assail the war — a popular position with many of the party’s primary voters — they run the risk that Republicans will use those critiques to attack the party’s nominee in the election as defeatist and lacking faith in the American military.

If security continues to improve, President Bush could become less of a drag on his party, too, and Republicans may have an easier time zeroing in on other issues, such as how the Democrats have proposed raising taxes in difficult economic times… — J. Zeleny and C. Hauser – New York Times

The flip-flopping was as predictable as the sun rising in the east each morning. The speed in which the surge has made a difference in civil stability was not. Much to the dismay of campaigning Democrats. But should the leading democrats begin to flip now this early in the campaign? The answer of course is NO. That’s why they are trapped. There is no way they can take the risk of alienating their power base on the radical left before the primary process points to a clear winner and nominee. At that point the posturing and backpedaling will begin. They will want to be associated with the “winners”. Everyone loves a winner. Their cover will be a “the situation has changed as we know have a better understanding of the strategic situation on the ground.” Political double speak for having to re-assess previous political positions.

Hillary of course will have no trouble back peddling whatsoever, since she is so clearly unclear in almost all of her positions anyway. After all, she did vote to go to war with Iraq in the first place and she will begin to make the case that she has all along been the only “responsible” candidate for not abandoning the military effort as radically as her running mates. Hence the photo ops above… She’s very slick, that slick Hillary.