12/11/2006 12:43 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Like Rats From a 2008 ship

The New York Times had an interesting item yesterday on how the Iraq Study Group report is contributing to the great GOP crack-up over the war, noting that "deep fissures among Republicans over how to manage a war that many fear will haunt their party -- and the nation -- for years to come" are becoming more apparent.

I think that's obviously true, but I noticed something else about some of the newer Republican critics of the war, most of whom have been far more supportive of the Bush White House over the last several years.

* Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), for example, went from being a traditional GOP back-bencher, with precious little to say about the war in Iraq, to being a staunch critic.

* Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has supported the war for years, and has trumpeted "cut and run" talking points for months, but is now suddenly concerned about the future of the war effort.

* Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) has been a non-entity in the broader debate over Iraq, but now he's being openly critical of the war, calling conditions in Iraq "grave and unsettling."

* Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) has said nary a word about the war, but now he's pushing for a major change.

What do all of these senators have in common? They're all Senate Republicans who are up for re-election in 2008. What a coincidence.

And they're all, apparently, scared enough to ditch their GOP talking points and start sounding like Democrats, now that the winds have shifted. I guess elections really do have consequences.