Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Un-Mavericking of John McCain

It used to be if you looked up “maverick” in the political dictionary, there was a picture of John McCain along with his biography. Now, he says he’s not a maverick and never was one. He’s a “partisan”.

Must be running for re-election.

I had a good deal of respect for McCain years ago, when he seemed to be functioning as a United States Senator – crossing the aisle to do deals to help people and advance beneficial legislation; standing on his own two feet, following his own political instincts.

I lost a good deal of respect for McCain during the Presidential campaign, when it seemed at times he was clueless about what was really going on in America, when he didn’t even know how many houses he and his very wealthy wife owned, and when he parroted the line from another old fart about how the “fundamentals of the economy are strong” as the world was collapsing around Wall Street.

I regained a good deal of respect for McCain late in the campaign when, one warm late-fall afternoon in Minnesota, he took the microphone away from an elderly woman who said “Obama is an ay-rab” and said “no, he’s not. He’s a decent man”. It was, to me, the mark of a man who knew it was over for him, and he wanted to salvage some remnant of his reputation.

Now, with his latest assertion that he never was a maverick, and his complete 180 on immigration policy, and his adoption of any position that he thinks will gain him votes, I think John McCain is more to be pitied than ridiculed. What is it about the U-S Senate that causes old men who should have retired from public life years ago to attempt to go on and on? Can the perfume of perceived power be that alluring?

Anyone who’s read the book “Game Change” and believes the reporters who wrote it (Mark Halperin and John Heilemann) understands that he had no idea who Sarah Palin was when he chose her as running mate. The book says he thought the campaign managers were talking about Tim Pawlenty, the Governor of Minnesota, and that McCain was stunned at Palin’s ignorance.

Now, he calls on her to come and campaign for him, in his re-election bid in Arizona.

He’s in his mid-70’s, he’s an authentic American hero, he’s married to a beautiful and intelligent woman who happens to be extremely wealthy, and many of his homes, including his principal residence, are in Arizona, land of the high-angle sun and predictably gorgeous weather. What on earth would cause such a man to want to spend any more of his life in that swampy bed of snakes on the Potomac?

Whatever it is, it must be awfully powerful. Perhaps addictive would be a better word.

It’s time for the voters of Arizona to call John McCain home, to help him retire from public life, to play golf in the Arizona sun, and write his memoirs.

Maybe he’ll admit that he once was a maverick.


  1. What is it about the U-S Senate that causes old men who should have retired from public life years ago to attempt to go on and on?

    I was told this was about McCain, not Herb Kohl.

  2. A maverick is a starting poker hand, with a queen and a jack dealt face down. Ironic, is it not?