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I can understand CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin slamming McCain’s speech as terrible and dull and poorly attended. He’s in the tank for Obama, and on such things the left places great weight.

But I don’t understand the pile on at The Corner.

McCain gave a serious talk that centered on the war, and especially on the point that if Obama had been in charge, we’d have lost by now and incredible chaos and perhaps genocide would be unfolding in that country. McCain also noted what he should refer to in every speech from now until November: Obama wants to sit down with dictators who would eat his lunch.

McCain noted that because of the change of strategy in Iraq which he championed, al Qaeda in Iraq is crushed and Maliki is in command and growing stronger by the day. It could still go very wrong, as John Burns pointed out on today’s show, but right now the surge has worked and McCain’s speech dwelt on that key fact. This is the defining contrast of this election, whether we will pursue victory in the global war or pretend the war can be downgraded to a law enforcement action.

McCain isn’t going to draw the crowds that Obama does, especially on the night Obama secures the nomination. What a surprise, Obama wins the nomination and he draws a far larger crowd.

McCain had a chance to give a message on national television and he gave the one of substance that matters.

What McCain is going to do is draw serious contrasts between his ability to lead a nation at war and the lightweight with the sweet smile and teleprompter mastery. I don’t expect the left to note such things, but I hadn’t thought that the values of MSNBC which elevate cliched rhetoric and the celebration of style over substance had spread so far. I battled for anyone but McCain for a very long time, but now the choice isn’t whether I’d prefer a different GOP nominee or whether McCain could use a better backdrop or more skilled advancemen. It is whether we fight the war to win or just give up. It is disturbing to see some on the right easily distracted from what William F. Buckley would never have lost sight of: This is a very serious business, and the nagging of our nominee over trivialities is a gift to Obama.


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