You have to admit: Bush laid out an ambitious agenda for a second-half-of-the-second-term president with abysmal poll numbers facing a Democratic congress that despises him.
His agenda includes turning around the war in Iraq (tough but possible), strengthening the military for the long conflict ahead (absolutely necessary), beginning to work toward a measure of energy security (not to be confused with “energy independence”), and attempting to open negotiations with the Democrats on a host of other issues.
The White House is betting that some Democrats will come along on each of these issues — not out of respect for Bush; not even out of respect for his office, but for self-interest: While in the minority Democrats could be satisfied merely to oppose. Now that they are in the majority, some Democrats may want to show they can do more than carp and criticize from the sidelines. A few may want to demonstrate that they can exercise the power they have been given to actually get something achieved.