Actually, there is a middle ground; the point of the torture memos was finding it. That’s the only note that’s a tiny bit off here, though. Read the full transcript at the Standard, as there’s so much to enjoy about this speech that everyone’s bound to have a different favorite moment. For Frum, it was Cheney calling Obama out for covering up information about whether the interrogations worked. For me, it’s the second half of the clip you’re about to see. For others, it’ll be his mockery of the media intoning sanctimoniously about jihadists “abducted” from the battlefield by U.S. troops or his reminder that terrorists don’t need pretexts like Gitmo or waterboarding to attack the U.S. — a timely point given the arrest last night of those NYC plotters outraged by the war in Afghanistan.

It won’t surprise you to know that his approval rating, while still negative, has started to rise ever since he started his media tour. It’s a shame Bush didn’t use him as more of a mouthpiece on this subject over the last few years of his administration: Dour though his Darth Cheney persona may be, he projects gravitas and speaks with understated eloquence. He’s bound to persuade at least a few fencesitters.

Update: In hindsight, wasn’t it awfully stupid of The One to rush out a national security speech to try to preempt Cheney? If he’d kept quiet, this still would have been a hit on righty blogs and Fox News but nowhere else. By jumping in, he created the sensational “terror duel” storyline that’s forcing the media to magnify this. At the very least, he should have waited a week or so and then given his speech as a rebuttal to Cheney’s. For someone so message-savvy, he crapped the bed this time.