The short answer is: Americans may think Bush is useless, but there is not an overwhelming desire to withdraw now. Or as Charles Franklin elaborates in a fascinating post:
The CBS/New York Times polls taken 9/4-8/07 finds results similar to other recent polls:
Bush War Approval: 26%
War worth cost: 34%
US Did right thing: 41%
(All in the ballpark of the trends above.)
Do you think the Republican or the Democratic party is more likely to make the right decisions about the war in Iraq?:
A Democratic advantage, but not an overwhelming one.
Bottom line: Frustrated anti-war forces are understandably angry that the 2006 election victory and subsequent Democratic Congress has failed to bring change to Iraq policy. The trend lines above show how support for the war has declined dramatically since 2003. Anti-war forces can correctly point to substantial majorities who are critical of various aspects of the war.
But change in Congress also requires that Republican members perceive that opinion against the war is so overwhelming that it is time for them to also abandon ship. That mark in public opinion has not been reached. So long as a substantial minority (say 40%+) support the current policy (or at least oppose a rapid withdrawal) then Republicans can count on a public that is too divided on the issue to pose the certainty of electoral catastrophe. This isn't to say Republicans don't wish the issue would go away, or that they relish running in 2008 with nearly 6 years of inconclusive war on their watch. But opponents of the war will not prevail in Congress unless a more massive opposition emerges--- and one united on the specific details of how to end the war.
Over to you, Senator Obama. Let's see if you have what it takes to be a president.
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