Now that Mike Huckabee has invoked Elvis, Mitt Romney has gloated over finishing second, and John McCain has proclaimed himself the “comeback” non-kid, this much is clear--the Republicans may hate Hill, but they borrow shamelessly from Bill. John McCain’s victory speech was of Clintonian dimensions--three or four speeches strung together with at least as many conclusions. But McCain got his points across: He takes America seriously but not himself, and he’s nobody’s Washington insider.

No matter how they were strung together, the words in McCain’s speech told his story--truth, honesty, respect, and, above all, service. While he stumbled through a text that had clearly been written by others--many others--the main point was his own: Life should be about serving something larger than yourself. Near the end--though it should have been at the end--was a line that sounds like one Michael Gerson might have written for a much less worthy leader, George W. Bush. “Americans are the authors of history, not the victims,” McCain proclaimed, and, for once, he wasn’t looking down at the prepared text.