With the White House wholly rejecting the “get the GOP out of Iraq” card, the president managed to do something many thought was nearly impossible: He strengthened the GOP’s ties to the war.

So what does this mean for 2008? Potential disaster. There are five people who are probably sweating more bullets about the GOP’s image problem than anyone else: The party’s three presidential front-runners (John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney), National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Ensign of Nevada and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole of Oklahoma. ~Chuck Todd

In this environment, what is even stranger is that the Terrible Trio of presidential candidates are united in their support of the war and the “surge” and have tended to go out of their way to demonstrate their ueber-hawkishness to all.  In putting some distance between himself and the administration on the “surge,” Brownback might have bought himself a little bit more credibility as the most electable GOP nominee.  That is not to say that a Brownback ticket would win (it would, I suspect, still be too reminiscent of Bush’s style and policies to go anywhere), but that every other major alternative to Brownback has bound himself closely to Mr. Bush on Iraq (which, in Romney’s position as a former governor, is almost inexplicable).  If Chuck Todd is right (and he often is about these sorts of things), that association may very well doom the “frontrunners” to defeat in the primaries or present the GOP with another blowout defeat in the general.  The usual suspects’ vilification of Brownback as a weak, appeasing loser will be starting soon enough to help compensate for the huge problems the biggest Republican interventionist candidates face.