Monday, October 6, 2008

Rolling Stone: Make-Believe Maverick

I'll add my voice to the chorus recommending that you read the Rolling Stone article on John McCain by Tim Dickinson. I certainly can't vouch for all of it, but parts of it ring true, like this one:

We have now watched McCain run twice for president. The first time he positioned himself as a principled centrist and decried the politics of Karl Rove and the influence of the religious right, imploring voters to judge candidates "by the example we set, by the way we conduct our campaigns, by the way we personally practice politics." After he lost in 2000, he jagged hard to the left — breaking with the president over taxes, drilling, judicial appointments, even flirting with joining the Democratic Party.

In his current campaign, however, McCain has become the kind of politician he ran against in 2000. He has embraced those he once denounced as "agents of intolerance," promised more drilling and deeper tax cuts, even compromised his vaunted opposition to torture. Intent on winning the presidency at all costs, he has reassembled the very team that so viciously smeared him and his family eight years ago, selecting as his running mate a born-again moose hunter whose only qualification for office is her ability to electrify Rove's base. And he has engaged in a "practice of politics" so deceptive that even Rove himself has denounced it, saying that the outright lies in McCain's campaign ads go "too far" and fail the "truth test."

Make-Believe Maverick

I've certainly been puzzled by this change. That's mostly because I figured there had to be at least some truth to the notion that McCain was the person he seemed to be in 2000. Dickinson's hypothesis, which is that McCain was always the self-centered bastard we are watching now, at least fits the facts.

So read, consider, and, as always, take it with a grain of salt until the people quoted confirm they said what they were quoted as saying.

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