While I was out the past two days, Philip had excellent posts here and here, and also here, on various aspects of John McCain’s candidacy. I have gone from supporting McCain in 2000 (better chance of winning than Bush, better on spending — especially entitlements — better on defense, less apt than Bush to value blind loyalty over competence, better at inspiring his countrymen to patriotism and, where necessary, shared sacrifice) to opposing him strenuously now (bad on judges, mediocre on taxes, bad on a government regulation of many sorts, bad in effect on everything economic EXCEPT spending and entitlements, and thoroughly. repeatedly obnoxious to all who disagree with him and utterly dismissive of movement conservatives). But on the war, he has been right at almost every step of the way (a pain in the neck in some ways on treatment of detainees, but he gets a pass there because he himself was tortured), and not just right but brave. His speech yesterday was a masterpiece, and he did a great job landing some roundhouse hooks against the defeatist Democrats. Barack Obama and especially John Edwards stepped into the trap of accusing McCain of playing politics with the war — the one charge that is so patently absurd as to be offensive, knowing McCain’s personal history AND his outspokenness on this particular war both in criticism and in support of Bush, depending on the sub-issue involved. Hillary Clinton, as is her wont, did the smartest thing politically of all the Dems: She refused to comment on McCain’s speech. Smart: Don’t pick a fight with McCain on war and peace. His credibility on the issue is almost impregnable. And, in this case, so is his wisdom. Bush and Rumsfeld utterly screwed up the post-Saddam effort at securing the peace. But that doesn’t mean the original aims were anything but moral, nor does it mean that it would be anything short of crazy to try to hobble the “surge” right now. Hail to McCain — and may he remain in the Senate, where he can keep fighting that good fight while first Bush and then another Republican president keep the political Left at bay so as to keep this nation safe from the bureaucratic, socialist state.