Democrats in Congress are heading into a game of chicken with the Bush White House akin to the Gingrich-Clinton government shutdown battle of 1995-96. The roles are reversed this time - so the Republicans are likely to prevail.
The question is, will Bush take full advantage?
For his part, President Bush needs to stand firm as this process unfolds. The split the funding resolution will catalyze in the Democratic Party may be his party's only hope of hanging onto the White House in 2008. He should resist calls for compromise, since any halfway solution or diplomatic wording that could appeal to both sides will rescue the Democrats from the horns of their dilemma - and run most or all of the risks for the troops and the mission in Iraq as the current bills present.
Bush should demand a clean appropriations bill or guarantee a veto. If he doesn't flinch and congressional Republicans don't defect, it will be bad news for the Democrats.