Steve & Tim: Yes, “effective” can become a weasel word for Dean. But I wonder if the politics of missile defense aren’t going to change in the next couple of years. By this time next year, the United States will have deployed a rudimentary missile defense supposedly capable of defending against an attack from North Korea. I suspect that Democrats ultimately will come to support some version of national missile defense. They will continue to complain about the cost, but we’ll hear less and less about how it can’t be made to work. The idea of missile defense is just too popular with the public–the Dems will want to neutralize it as an issue, rather than make it a part of their national-security strategy. Something tells me that Dean’s words on this topic–even though they’re compromised by his embrace of the ABM Treaty–are a prelude to what’s ahead. And that’s very good news for conservatives. It’s also something that wouldn’t have happened without President Bush’s leadership on the issue.