Why Republicans Are Smiling

They see a new, capable general in Iraq and a beatable field of Democrats

Doug Mills - The New York Times / Redux

Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), left, heads to a news conference with other members of Republican leadership in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2006.

I have lots of conservative friends and often speak to Republican-leaning groups. I have something surprising to report: they're pretty cheerful. They're well aware that President Bush's numbers are terrible--and that Al Gore got an Academy Award. Yet my fellow conservatives and Republicans are pretty upbeat. After a rough 2006, conservative magazines are seeing an uptick in subscription renewals, right-wing websites are getting more hits, and Republican and conservative groups here at Harvard (yes, Harvard!) seem invigorated. What's going on? Here are five reasons conservatives and Republicans might have some cause for their cheer.

1. The surge. Nothing was more demoralizing last...