Word is out that Afghan challenger to President Karzai, Abdullah Abdullah, may quit the run-off election due to a breakdown in talks designed to lessen the corruption by Karzai's faction that plagued the original vote. Should that happen, expect the U.S. to go smaller rather than larger in that country militarily (lack of credible partner).
And in upstate New York's 23rd Congressional district, Republican special election candidate Dierdre Scozzafava has suspended her campaign in light of her extremist Conservative Party rival, Doug Hoffman, endorsed by quitter Sarah Palin among many others, stomping her in the polls. This lead to a great Sunday column by Frank Rich on the "The G.O.P. Stalinists":
The more rightists who win G.O.P. primaries, the greater the Democrats’ prospects next year. But the electoral math is less interesting than the pathology of this movement. Its antecedent can be found in the early 1960s, when radical-right hysteria carried some of the same traits we’re seeing now: seething rage, fear of minorities, maniacal contempt for government, and a Freudian tendency to mimic the excesses of political foes. Writing in 1964 of that era’s equivalent to today’s tea party cells, the historian Richard Hofstadter observed that the John Birch Society’s “ruthless prosecution” of its own ideological war often mimicked the tactics of its Communist enemies.
The same could be said of Beck, Palin and their acolytes. Though they constantly liken the president to various totalitarian dictators, it is they who are re-enacting Stalinism in full purge mode. They drove out Arlen Specter, and now want to “melt Snowe” (as the blog Red State put it). The same Republicans who once deplored Democrats for refusing to let an anti-abortion dissident, Gov. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, speak at the 1992 Clinton convention now routinely banish any dissenters in their own camp.