When McCain Was A Conservative ...

He once believed in balancing the budget as well:

The American people did not support the goals of nation-building, peacemaking, law and order and certainly not warlord funding. For us to get into nation-building, law and order, etc, I think is a tragic and terrible mistake. But the argument that somehow the United States would suffer a loss to our prestige and our viability, as far as the No. 1 superpower in the world, I think, is baloney. The fact is, what can hurt our prestige, Mr. President, I'll tell you what can hurt our viability, as the world's superpower, and that is, if we enmesh ourselves in a drawn-out situation, which entails the loss of American lives, more debacles like the one we saw with the failed mission to capture Aidid's lieutenants, using American forces, and that then will be what hurts our prestige."

That was 1993 with respect to Somalia. Different, of course. But not so different that conservatives now have to believe in an open-ended commitment to nation-buidling with the bulk of our entire active military in the middle of one of the most fractious non-states in the Arab Middle East. The McCain I believe in does not appear to be the McCain who is running in 2008.