"The View From Purgatory," Safire's latest column in the New York Times takes the format of an interview with the deceased Richard Nixon. Despite the obvious potential in such a format, Safire simply uses Nixon (and this is not the first time) in order to voice his own half-baked ideas about Iraq, the current domestic situation, and Safire's favorite political topic - Kerry losing this election so that there will be a "Clinton Restoration" in 2008.

Q: Now you're into politics, how do you see the campaign dynamic?

RN: Let me say this about that: Bush went into a slump because of war casualties, and as we come out of the war, Bush comes out of his slump. Now he has to stop responding to Kerry's demands ? all that U.N. kissy-face ? and start talking about exciting plans for the economic boom in his second term.

Alas, Nixon died before 9/11. I personally suspect that the old mantra of "It's the economy, stupid" will become "It's terrorism, stupid." Despite the fact that Iraq will have sovereignty at the end of this month, American troops will still be on the ground. If casualties continue (or if lack of Iraqi security causes American civilians to become targets, much like in Saudi Arabia), Iraq will continue to weigh on the American mind. And that will be far more important that any supposed economic revival.