I have noticed in my travels that many, many more people are wishing others "Merry Christmas" as opposed to "Happy Holidays". Walmart got off on the wrong foot last year and had to reverse course to allow their employees to use the "Merry Christmas" phrase. Target was in trouble two years ago on this same point (although this appears to have been at least as much urban legend as anything). But this year, I'm hearing "Merry Christmas" a lot. In addition, I am hearing religious, in addition to secular holiday music in the public spaces. The public is cheerful again.
I had to wonder: Why this change now?
My answer? General Petraeus and the success of the Surge. The War doesn't look like it is failing like it did last year. Indeed, the opposite is true: It looks as though we're winning.
I think it is a mistake to make a political connection to absolutely every topic that we might think of (and far too many people make this mistake, IMO). With that said, I think this Christmas Cheer I see, and the connection I see to the success of General Petraeus' Surge, bodes ill for the Democrats.
They've staked their claim to opposing everything President Bush has tried, and cannot in any way attach themselves to the success of the War.
This morning on Fox News Sunday, Fred Barnes predicted that Barak Obama would win the Presidency. I take his point that the R's have not coalesced around either a candidate or a theme, but I must disagree with Barnes. The D's, and Obama, have done nothing but criticize the effort in what I believe is our most pressing issue...winning the GWOT. The Surge is working, we don't hear about the casualties in Iraq in the daily news, and the public is cheerful. This ought to worry the Democrats.