The shift away from the Democrats in Congress has occurred on two levels. In terms of their overall approval rating, the damage is almost entirely among people who strongly oppose the war in Iraq. In this group 69 percent approved of the Democrats in April, but just 54 percent still approve now -- a likely effect of the Democrats' failure to push a withdrawal timetable through Congress.I am one of those people that understands the reasons why the Democrats caved in on the Iraq funding. Without a veto proof 67 votes in the Senate it was known that the President would veto any bill that included timetables. They also correctly understood that the President would use the veto as an excuse to tell the American people that the Democrats do not support the troops. The sad reality is that many Americans would fall for this lie. The correct course of action would have been to send the same bill with the funding that was requested again and again. The Democrats need a good spokesman who could explain the complex nature of the funding bill in such a way that the American people would understand.
Their decline in leadership ratings vs. Bush is more broadly based -- that's occurred among war opponents and supporters alike, apparently reflecting more an assessment of their performance than an expression of support or opposition.
The Democrats were elected to end this war and put this President in check until the next election. Now many do not think they are up to this task. I predict in September when the surge has failed on all levels that more Republicans will jump ship and join the Democrats on Iraq. No matter how the Democrats are perceived this is and will always be George W. Bush's war. That is the political calculation the Democrats are making. In the end that is correct but lives are being lost as a result of this lack of spine.