Democrats believed the script would go something like this:

Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus would deliver their report about combat operations, violence and political instability in Iraq, and congressional Republicans, confronted with bad news, would face enormous pressure to vote for an Iraq withdrawal timeline.

But the climate in Washington may have shifted, and the anti-war expectations may not pan out.

Republican lawmakers like U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter and U.S. Reps. Charlie Dent in Pennsylvania, along with U.S. Reps. Mike Ferguson and Frank LoBiondo in New Jersey, next month may have a bit more breathing room to stick with President Bush and his plan to surge additional U.S. troops into Iraq.

Military gains in al Anbar Province have surprised policy-makers in Washington and put lawmakers calling for troop cutbacks on the defensive.

It does seem that way.

UPDATE: Finessing the Surge.