Michael Barone summarizes how the political climate has changed since 2006:
Democrats are coming face to face with the fact that there's a war on -- and that Americans prefer success to failure. If the choice is between stalemate and withdrawal, as it seemed to be in November 2006, they may favor withdrawal; but if the choice is between victory and withdrawal, they don't want to quit -- or to undermine the effort.
Last week, Democrat Niki Tsongas won a special election with only 51 percent of the vote, in a Massachusetts district where John Kerry won 57 percent in 2004 and would have run much better in 2006. History doesn't stand still -- we're not in 2006 anymore.
Barone makes the same point Patrick Ruffini made after Niki Tsongas' victory in Massachusetts last week: 2006 is history and politics has changed. This should not be a surprise. Political commentators said after the 2006 election that the loss of the House and Senate was a blessing for Republicans -- one that would break the rise of anti-Republican sentiment to ensure that 2008 was not a catastrophic anti-GOP tidal wave. That's now happened. By controlling one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Democrats have reminded voters that it's not just Republicans they don't like.