Marc Thiessen’s must-read piece parses Sen. John McCain’s speech on enhanced interrogation techinques.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen zeroes in on the muted reaction and downright false characterizations about the Israeli border attacks: “This past weekend’s incidents were not peaceful protests but attempts by extremists, many of them armed, to lay siege to Israel. There is no moral equivalence between Israel’s defensive measures and the Syrian dictatorship’s brutal repression of its own people. As a sovereign, democratic state, Israel has the right to defend its borders and its people against incursions. Put in the same position, any free nation would act just as Israel did. As always, the United States must stand up for our indispensable ally Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself.”

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) focuses on the real culprit: “This weekend’s events in the Middle East illustrate once again the existential threats Israel faces. As protesters rebel against authoritarian regimes throughout the Middle East, the prospect of hostility and violence against Israel — the only democracy in the region — is real and dangerous. . . . It is not surprising that President Assad is using Palestinian protesters to distract from the democratic uprising that is occurring within Syria’s own borders. But it nonetheless displays a shocking level of cynicism to risk provoking war in order to maintain a grasp on power.”

Jeffrey Anderson drills down on the “Mitch Daniels is no Paul Ryan” point: “Here are just a few of Ryan’s advantages over Daniels: He’s more charismatic and personally appealing; he’s a better debater and has already successfully squared off against Obama on the budget and on Obamacare; he hasn’t called for a ’social truce’; he has more interest and expertise in foreign policy (governors have far less to do with foreign policy than congressmen do, and Daniels seems to have less interest in foreign policy than most governors); he’s been a leader in the ongoing fights in Washington about the future direction of the country; he wasn’t Bush’s budget director; he’s young and dynamic; and he’s not afraid to criticize the president in strong, yet civil, language; and he (perhaps alone) can unite the party’s establishment and Tea Party — and social, economic, and defense — wings.”

Four Republican senators puncture the myth of Russian reset. “Perhaps nowhere on Earth can people be found who are more committed to freedom than in Georgia, the Baltic States and Ukraine. The U.S. should seize this moment with the 21st century’s ‘belt of freedom and democracy,’ not only to support them but to provide a clear example to the Russian people who, with the right policies and leaders, could enjoy the same opportunities.”

Conservatives are throwing spears at Newt Gingrich: “Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) on Monday sought to walk back his controversial remarks on healthcare after coming under friendly fire from the right. Gingrich, who’s acknowledged that his discipline and judgment would be a key metric of success in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, had come under intense criticism from conservatives stunned by his comments on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’ ” This is how Gingrich blew himself up as speaker of the House.

David Wasserman of the Cook Report pierces through the Democratic spin: “Highly unusual circumstances have turned a normally Republican upstate New York seat into a pure Toss Up heading into the final week before the May 24 special election. While all special elections should come with a warning label reading ‘Do Not Project Results onto Next November’s Races,’ this label should come super-sized on a race involving a wealthy, pro-choice, protectionist Tea Partier who ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2004, 2006, and 2008 (spending more than $5 million of his own money) and has spent at least another $1.7 million in this race.”

Jonathan Schanzer skewers President Obama’s Middle East policy: “President Barack Obama’s response to the spread of unrest across the Middle East has been an unpredictable combination of neutrality (Tunisia), reluctant involvement (Egypt), and force (Libya). Even after his speech to the nation on March 28, the president has yet to formulate a policy that explains his actions.”