Too much Afghanistan?
So, much applause, back slapping, and general relief in Washington to the announcement out of Kabul. The president (the one in the White House) says:
"While this election could have remained unresolved to the detriment of the country, President Karzai's constructive actions established an important precedent for Afghanistan's new democracy."
Hillary Clinton weighs in with: "The leadership shown by the president, Dr Abdullah and all of the other candidates has strengthened Afghanistan and kept faith with the best interests of the Afghan people."
Senator John Kerry, who is in Kabul, had his say, too: "Today, President Karzai showed statesmanship by deciding to move forward, and to strengthen the country by embracing the Constitution and the rule of law."
The announcement of a run-off on 7 November must complicate the decision about when the president should make a statement on future strategy.
But I am still not convinced that the election will happen. The British and Americans still want a broadly based unity government.
So why am I writing again about Afghanistan? Has it featured too much and is it too "inside the beltway"?
Some of the criticism below yesterday's piece does sting a little.
After all, I have made it a priority to get out of DC and report the rest of America, and I always knew striking the right balance would be very difficult.
I am a great believer in explaining editorial dilemmas openly, so here's the "but". You knew there would be a "but".
The president's decision on Afghanistan and Pakistan is of critical importance for the UK and the rest of the world.
It's not just that British troops are fighting there, it is that both the president and the British prime minister, along with hosts of advisers and commentators, make it clear that they believe what happens there has an impact on the security and safety of the US and Europe.
For a really interesting take, arguing there is no middle way, check this article in the New Republic.
It is also critically important for Obama's presidency: many Democrats are strongly opposed to sending more troops, and believe it will force him to abandon domestic reforms they are very keen on.
Then there are the nuts and bolts of how we take such decisions, and they are nearly always more important than outsiders' esoteric theories about editorial priorities.
I travelled very widely across the EU and beyond when I was based in Europe but there would always be someone asking why such and such a story hadn't been covered.
It's the old problem of not being able to be in two places at once. This blog is very important to me, but the bread and butter of the job is TV and radio reporting.
At the end of last week, we knew that the news of the Afghan vote would break within a few days. But not when or how.
So it makes it very difficult to leave town. The same is true when we know Obama will announce his decision in "the coming weeks". Do I dare make a foray outside the beltway at this critical time? Yes, absolutely, but it has to be done judiciously.
In the short time I have been here, I have reported on healthcare policy from West Virginia, public opinion on Afghanistan from New York and Jimmy Carter's comments on race from South Carolina. I am not going to stop getting out and about, and need to get a better feel for what the US thinks and feels about a whole range of issues, but sometimes what happens within the beltway will dominate..