Unless George Bush says "damn public opinion and damn the party, full speed ahead", a surge in US troop strength is looking more and more unlikely. Aside from possibly a few readers of the EB and BC, there's no public support for the idea.
Robert Novak reports that:
I checked with prominent Republicans around the country and found them confused and disturbed about the surge. They incorrectly assumed that the presence of Republican stalwart James Baker as co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group meant it was Bush-inspired (when it really was a bipartisan creation of Congress). Why, they ask, is the president casting aside the commission's recommendations and calling for more troops?
Even in Mississippi, the reddest of red states where Bush's approval rating has just inched above 50 percent, Republicans see no public support for more troops. What is happening inside the president's party is reflected by defection from support for his war policy after November's election by two Republican senators who face an uphill race for re-election in 2008: Gordon Smith of Oregon and Norm Coleman of Minnesota. Coleman announced his opposition to more troops after returning from a trip to Iraq preceding McCain's.
Among Democrats, Lieberman stands alone. Sen. Joseph Biden, as Foreign Relations Committee chairman, leads the rest of the Democrats not only to oppose a surge but to block it. Bush enters a new world of a Democratic majority where the big microphone he talks about is smaller because he must share the stage.
Just as the president is ready to address the nation on Iraq, Biden next week begins three weeks of hearings on the war. On the committee, Biden, Christopher Dodd, John Kerry, Russell Feingold and Barack Obama will compete for intensity in criticizing a troop surge. But on the Republican side of the committee, no less probing scrutiny of Bush's proposals will come from Chuck Hagel.
Here's another 2007 prediction:
The Bush Administration will announce that "Iraqi Military Forces have shown remarkable improvement and will assume complete responsibility by the end of the year. Faced with the withdrawal of US forces, the Iraqis have vastly improved and no additional US troops will be sent to Iraq."
As I see it, there's no support for "Stay the Course" and no support for "Surging Troop numbers." There is support for withdrawal. Some, (over 70% of Democrats) want it now, and some are more patient. For them, next month will do. They're thinking, we broke it, we bought it, we tried to fix it but we don't have to keep it. As we say in the south, "We didn't take Iraq to raise."