Second and more interestingly, at the time of the surge, there was zero political cost to McCain supporting the surge. He was running in a Republican primary, and not particularly well, so his ironclad support for troop escalation was largely seen by many Republican stalwarts (in a season where the only anti-war candidate was being treated like a leper) as one of the best things going for the guy, given his various transgressions on other counts.Here's a report on some polling from June 2007, as the surge troops moved in:
Thirty percent of Americans polled say they favor the war, the lowest level of support on record. Two-thirds are opposed.
Anti-war sentiment among Republican poll respondents has suddenly increased with 38 percent of Republicans now saying they oppose the war.
Moreover, 63 percent of Americans are ready to withdraw at least some troops from Iraq. Forty-two percent of Republicans agree.
Forty-two percent of Republicans were ready to withdraw some troops, which would suggest less than overwhelming support in the party for putting more troops in. And the trend at that time was toward more opposition. Not exactly zero political risk, it seems to me.
More on Reason here.