Barack Obama and the rest of the Democrats never fail to say they honor John McCain's wartime service. It's good that they do so, but it's become such a predictable incantation that it's virtually lost its meaning.

Since Fred Thompson just finished recounting this episode of McCain's life, I think I'll take this opportunity to say I admire him, too. I know the story of his time as a prisoner of war is well-known by now, but it doesn't get less poignant with all the retellings. During that time, he really did show many of the qualities that Thompason just ascribed to him--strength, courage, duty, and honor.

I haven't seen much of those qualities in McCain's political life, particularly in recent years. That, along with the fact that I fundamentally disagree with his governing philosophy, is why I think he'd make a terrible president. But that doesn't change what McCain did back when--or take away from the very sincere admiration I, along with many of his critics, feel for him.

--Jonathan Cohn