The sudden interest in John McCain as both the 2008 Republican presidential nominee and President of the United States is completely understandable.
Think of it like dating. You play around with a lot of interesting and fun people but when it comes time to settle down most sane people prefer a partner who is solid and well-grounded. The girl (or guy) next door whom you took for granted in the past all of the sudden becomes very attractive.
So it is with John McCain.
There are lots of reasons why people have bones to pick with the Arizona Senator. He doesn't always rub people the right way and, although he has a solid conservative voting record, isn't far enough to the right for some Republicans whose quest for ideological purity usually winds up snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Liberal and moderate Republicans may have qualms that he aligned himself too closely with President Bush despite the Bush money machine's hatchet job on McCain in the 2000 primaries.
That said, the New Hampshire newspapers that have endorsed McCain have thoroughly examined his record and concluded that he's been solid, honest, consistent and correctly pegged the problems with our Iraq occupation.
They also note that he has the military experience tested under five years of fire as a prisoner of war that not only puts him head and shoulders about the rest of the competition but also, as a former POW, should mean that he'd be less likely to commit our military to losing ventures.
True, not everyone likes where McCain is coming from, but the beauty is that you always have known where he's coming from. It hasn't changed from year to year or from audience to audience even though it may cost him votes.
I was one of the "undecideds" but the editorial analysis from the New Hampshire press topped by the summaries of the rest of the competition compiled by the Des Moines Register made it very clear that the best choice was here all along. Sure, you may want to party with Barack, schmooze with Fred, argue with Hillary or debate religion with Mitt and/or Mike but at the end of the day we want and need a strong and capable leader.
Five years of North Vietnamese torture didn't bend or break John McCain. That's exactly the strength this nation needs right now -- and, hindsight being 20-20, desparately should have had in 2000.