Let me echo Matthew Yglesias and suggest that John McCain's surge in the polls is a good reason to pick up Matt Welch's McCain: The Myth of a Maverick. While I'm not sure I buy all of Welch's analysis of McCain's personality, the book is a valuable compendium of everything unflattering in his background, much of which I had never heard of due to the media's love affair with the Arizona senator.
One thing that particularly struck me was the disjunction between McCain's current views on war (he's pro-) and a quote Welch unearthed from McCain's 1983 speech opposing the continued deployment of US troops in Lebanon:
The fundamental question is "What is the United States' interest in Lebanon? It is said we are there to keep the peace. I ask, what peace? It is said we are there to aid the government. I ask, what government? It is said we are there to stabilize the region. I ask, how can the US presence stabilize the region?...
The longer we stay in Lebanon, the harder it will be for us to leave. We will be trapped by the case we make for having our troops there in the first place.
What can we expect if we withdraw from Lebanon? The same as will happen if we stay. I acknowledge that the level of fighting will increase if we leave. I regretfully acknowledge that many innocent civilians will be hurt. But I firmly believe this will happen in any event.
As Welch writes, the speech "would have eerie echoes to debates two decades later."