Progressives should be optimistic as we look toward the 2006 midterm elections. A recent CNN/ Gallup Poll shows that a record-high 54 percent of Americans believe that the United States made a mistake in going to war in Iraq. Surging gas prices in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and struggles to keep up with the cost of living are fueling widespread pessimism about President Bush's handling of the economy. According to recent Associated Press polls, only 28 percent of voters think the country is heading in the right direction. An August Harris poll showed that 58 percent of respondents believe Bush is doing an “only fair or poor” job as president, while several new polls at press time recorded his approval at barely 40 percent -- the lowest in his presidency.