I agree with Bruce Bartlett about the election: Bush is likely to be reelected, and by a large margin, as long as the economy remains strong. I add the caveat that the odds could change if Bush makes a major blunder on the war and the Democrats present a serious alternative to his war policies, but this combination of events seems unlikely.
Speculations about which Democratic candidate is best on defense miss the bigger point, which is that none of the electorally competitive Democrats is good on defense. The press has to pretend that they are, because otherwise the race is over and there’s nothing to write about, but the rest of us can call a spade a spade.
(I agree that Bush is vulnerable in many areas — Saudi Arabia, not restraining government spending, not dealing seriously with intelligence failures, etc. But Clinton had at least as many political weaknesses in 1996. As long as economic growth continues to expand, a mediocre Democratic candidate is no more likely to defeat the incumbent now than a mediocre Republican candidate was then.)