This is a big deal, people. No one, not the most ardent supporter of the war, not even John McCain, would consider Pete Domenici out on the fringes somewhere. In fact, Domenici has been as mainstream Republican as one could get over a long Senate career — just like John Warner and George Voinovich and Richard Lugar. These are not crazed, radical “cut-and-runners” by any stretch of the imagination.

In fact they are tiptoeing very carefully as they suggest the United States needs to escape from Iraq. But these very, very cagey politicians are well aware that their tiptoeing amounts to a hard stomping on the president’s argument that staying the course will ultimately result in success.

They are respectfully saying that’s baloney (as I said, “respectfully”) — concluding that the United States is on a course to disaster, and that getting the Iraqis to cooperate may be too much to hope for since they don’t even seem to like their occupiers.

So add Domenici to the list of those who are the unlikeliest to bail out on their fellow Republican president, but have. They wouldn’t look at it that way, of course. They would look at it as rescuing the president — from himself. And rescuing their country.