Strength of purpose
First there was Boxer's lone dissent against counting the Ohio electors. There was some squawking in the media about it, but her star has risen because of her actions.
Then there came 12 Democrats opposed to Condi Rice. Again there was some squawking, but generally those twelve have come off looking good for their opposition.
Now there are 36 Democrats opposed to Abu Gonzalez. There will, of course, be more squawking. But I predict that those 36 will feel energized by their handling of this issue.
Next comes Social Security, which may produce a 100% Democratic opposition and even bring over a few wavering Republicans.
This is how it works folks: oppose, even if you are going to lose the vote, because in opposition you build the respectable contrast that you will need to ultimately win. With each show of opposition the Democrats are more emboldened and demonstrate a greater strength of purpose. The voters always respond positively to shows of strength, especially in the face of insurmountable odds.
Who doesn't root for the underdog?