Both the blogosphere and the MSM are awash in commentary right now about McCains "repositioning," prompted especially by his upcoming commencement address at Jerry Falwells Liberty University. E.J. Dionne, the canary in the liberal gas swamp, has already gone off on McCain, heretofore every liberals favorite Republican. John McIntyre of the indispensible RealClearPolitics.com thinks this is just the beginning of a ferocious liberal assault on McCain as he drives for the GOP 2008 nomination.
We should hope so. It will drive McCain to the right if the libs overreact. And this wont be a bad thing, since he is likely to get the nomination unless he stumbles along the way (always possible).
Which sets up a story of the kind I usually dont tell. Back in October I got seated next to McCain at a dinner honoring Sir Martin Gilbert when he was visiting Washington. I was startled at how likeable and engaging he was in person, even when I thought he was talking perfect rot. I argued with him about several of his main themes, and he gamely argued back in a genuine give-and-take manner (which means neither of us made a dent in the other, though I think I got him to pause once or twice over arguments he had never heard before). Above all his presence was undeniable; I began to understand why the press bus went nuts for the guy in 2000. He is much more impressive and captivating in person than on TV. He struck me as someone ready to be president. Conservatives are right to be wary of him, but at the very least we should be ready to throw the yellow penalty flag when the Left starts slinging mud at him.