- There's a permanent class in Washington, various orbits of power centers, who really believe they run the town and by extension the country. Politicians come and go, but the permanent ruling class is always there. Its members shift a bit over time, and there are those higher up in the perceived power structure than others, but the class remains. It's what Broder meant when he said of Clinton, "it's not his place." They set the rules, define the parameters of debate and acceptable conduct, and every now and then step in and Make a Decision which they assume Will Be Listened To. Once the Wise Old Men finally got around to realizing that Iraq was a disaster, they assumed They Would Be Heeded, especially if they did it in a nice way which didn't blame anybody for anything and let Bush off the hook.
Which explains all the news stories you saw and continue to see about the lack of "support" for a withdrawal long after polls showed the public favored it. They aren't talking about the lack of support for withdrawal among the general public. They are talking about the lack of support for it among the jejune old farts of D.C.'s aristocracy. In our soi-disant democracy, it does matter what the people think --- but only the right people.