Kent Conrad says:
"If some of us have to sacrifice a political career to get this country back on track, then so be it."
This is clearly the right thing to say and do. Democrats have shown the willingness to put the country ahead of politics. (See healthcare reform)
But the more interesting question is whether Republicans think that Congress should only do things that public approves of. They seem to approach the issue that if the American people disagree (right now) then whatever you are doing is wrong. Perhaps that's only for things that they, Republicans are for, but we'll see.
I do know that once Iraq became less popular, the rhethoric from the conservative members in Congress became less extreme and they seem to be looking for exit strategies. Sort of "declare victory" and start withdrawing.
So the question we must know about entitlement spending, military spending, tax increases, regulations, etc. is whether Republicans ever think the right thing to do can be the unpopular thing. Or whether if it is unpopular it is wrong.