And if things continue on their current path in Iraq, Hagel will look a lot better to the GOP grassroots. ~Rod Dreher

Maybe.  I really want to believe that the GOP grassroots are not the people who listen to what Hugh Hewitt and the like tell them to do, because if they are I see no one with a remotely rational foreign policy platform focused very specifically on the national interest making any headway on that side.  When I think of the GOP grassroots, my parents come to mind: these are the sorts of sane, responsible, temperamentally and philosophically conservative people that I used to associate with the phrase “GOP grassroots.”  These days, I’m not quite sure what to associate with that phrase.  I would like to think that many conservative activists in the GOP, whatever they believed last year or the year before, have started to view the entire Iraq episode with horror, and that the loudest voices who claim to represent “the grassroots” are, as they often are about other things, simply full of it.  However, that was the kind of wishful thinking that caused me to be deeply shocked and stunned five years ago to find that most people calling themselves conservatives embraced every bad hegemonist idea offered to them. 

Whatever else anecdotal evidence may tell us, numerous polls have consistently placed GOP support for the “surge” at or around 60%.  That’s hardly overwhelming for a policy that is supposed to be so obviously well-conceived and necessary for victory, and even that support may evaporate quickly, but it places a formidable barrier in front of a potential candidtate, such as Hagel, who has distinguished himself so far this year by being the only Republican to formally oppose the new plan.