THE GREAT MCCAIN DIVIDE. Looking at the various defenses of John McCain coming from centrist and liberal writers over the past few weeks and discussed by Matt and Ezra below, I think what we're seeing is the emergence of a new opinion fault line that McCain will have trouble crossing in 2008: the divide between people who discovered him in 2000, and those who did not. Reporters who first got to know McCain in his election 2000 iteration will continue to adore him, and defend his moves to the right as mere tactical maneuvering, while those who have entered opinion or political journalism since then will be coming to him with a blanker slate, and a desire to define the story based on the world as it is today, and not as it was.

--Garance Franke-Ruta