Capitol Briefing has long believed the Iraq war is not as popular among conservatives as the polls show. With the war support number almost always mirroring Bush's own approval rating, Capitol Briefing believes that conservatives tell pollsters they support the war only out of deference to Bush."Conservatives" certainly showed a lot of deference to the president over the "grand bargain"! Couldn't one also flip the cause-and-effect chain? By that theory, when individuals feel more optimistic/approving of the war, might they not also feel more likely to approve of the job Bush is doing? Certainly, when looking around the "right" sections of the blogosphere during the middle of the debate over the "grand bargain," it seemed as though a lot of individuals who were otherwise alienated from Bush tried to defend the president by saying that, from their perspective, at least he was "right" on judges and the War on Terror/Iraq--so some at least seem to believe in his Iraq policy (or at least believe in it more than some of the alternatives). Of course, a lot of "conservatives" may still be unhappy with present Iraq policy....and there is perhaps a possibility that, if Bush alienates too much of his "base" on other issues, they will have less trust in him about Iraq.
Cane's summary of how McConnell may have won in last week's debate--how his various tactical moves may have united the Republican caucus behind him and helped bind up his relations with fellow Republicans after a troublesome "grand bargain" debate--is also interesting. Certainly, McConnell's performance last week has won him some plaudits in certain portions of the blogosphere.