While Barack Obama currently has an edge over John McCain in the general election, he should take steps to remove the interest of those small, specific segments of the activist wing of the party in voting Republican. (One could view McCain’s revisionism as his attempt to do the same thing, but I’m not sure anyone believes him.) The interest groups which are traditionally Republican but which could easily be removed from the picture are single-issue voters. Actually, they aren’t so much removed from the picture has their issue is defused, forcing those voters to concentrate on other policies, some of which they might agree with but which they won’t consider as long as their issue is on the table.

The obvious candidates are the issues of abortion and gun control. My personal favorite issue is individual liberty, and its corollary personal responsibility, which neither party is adequately addressing. This could be portrayed as a flip-flop, of course, or a change of heart, or a move to the center, but what it would be is a recognition that underneath that overwhelming issue, there might be more in common than we thought.

I’m currently reading April 1865, an excellent book covering the events of the last month of the Civil War, which reminds us that how wars end is often of more consequence than how they start. It sets the stage for the next one.

Consider, for example, how the end of the First World War led to the Second, and to the current unpleasantness in Iraq.

Now that you’ve thought about that for a moment, do you really think it’s wise to treat with Iraq as if it is merely a conquered nation? Recall that in the best contracts, both sides think they’ve won. Tread carefully here.