John McCain

Attn, DC Reasonoids: Welch on McCain, January 8—and a Free Lunch, Too!


Get (re)acquainted with incoming reason mag editor Matt Welch (reason archive here; personal blog here) and scarf down a free lunch next week at a Cato Insitute book forum:

McCain: The Myth of a Maverick

Tuesday, January 8, 2008
12:00 PM (Luncheon to Follow)

Featuring the author, Matt Welch, Editor-in-Chief, Reason Magazine, and Lance Tarrance, Jr., Former Senior Strategist, McCain for President.

The Cato Institute
1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

John McCain is one of the most familiar figures in American politics, a figure with great appeal to many. However, his concrete governing philosophy and actual track record have been left unexamined. Matt Welch's new book McCain: The Myth of a Maverick gives a flesh-and-bones political portrait of a man onto whom people project their own ideological fantasies. It is the first realistic assessment of what a John McCain presidency might look like. Welch lays out the root cause of the senator's worldview: his personal transformation from underachieving youth to war hawk, in which he used the "higher power" of American nationalism to save his life and soul. Please join us to discuss this new work on the day that New Hampshire decides the fate of Senator McCain's enduring aspiration to attain the presidency.

Cato events, unless otherwise noted, are free of charge. To register for this event, please fill out the form below and click submit or email, fax (202) 371-0841, or call (202) 789-5229 by noon, Monday, January 7, 2008. Please arrive early. Seating is limited and not guaranteed. News media inquiries only (no registrations), please call (202) 789-5200.

NEXT: The Audacity of Mush

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Fricking McCan’t! Why can’t the broke bastard blow away. He’s sucking up all the independent votes.

  2. It appears that while the symbol of Nick Gillespie’s authority was the leather jacket, Matt Welch will be representing his hegemony by the wearing of dark sunglasses.

    I guess his future’s so bright, he’s gotta wear shades.

  3. Mac can’t blow away. He was programmed in Hanoi to run.

  4. Something about that picture just screams Roger Moore’s James Bond to me.

  5. Dear Viet Cong,

    Couldn’t you have at least done one thing right? Jeeze, guys, you kill thousands of POWs and you let this guy go? What’s the deal?


  6. Is the mythos of his maverickism that false? Would libertarians really fall over themselves to have any of the other non Paul candidates in office before him?

    Maybe I missed the big issue that turned him into a pariah? Could someone fill me in?

  7. LIT:

    Welch doesn’t like him. Really, really. It goes back a ways.

  8. LiT,

    Two words: Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform.

  9. crimethink,
    Yeah, BiCRA. Well, that and the whole, More WAR Bigger WAR thing.

  10. yeah, both of those issues are annoying, but I still think he and Thompson are the only republicans besides Paul I could pull the november ballot handle for.

    Atleast he understands the need for civil liberties and cuttting government spending…

  11. So where’s Nick heading?

  12. um, Nick will be in charge of Reason TV, IIRC

  13. um,

    Editor of, I believe? Should find it here.

    Between Hillary and McCain, I could maybe vote for him, but it would be difficult. Limiting political speech is a huge black mark in my book…

  14. Taktix,

    Paul still got $20 million *shrug*

  15. LIT,

    I’m not getting down on Paul, I was just trying to imagine a circumstance in which I would vote for McCain, and that’d be the closest.

    I still think he should have took the coward’s way out in Vietnam, however…

  16. By the way, one of my all time favorite Welch posts:

    “How Ever Do the Handcuffed Suicide Pactists Manage?”

    “The Constitution is not now and has never been a suicide pact, even back when the country was truly vulnerable to foreign invasion, like, oh, when the thing was written. On the contrary, it’s arguably the best democratic defense mechanism known to man. If liberty and security were at zero-sum odds, the world would still be disgraced by Ceausescu, Husak and Honecker. And if rights and ethics were handcuffs, America would have been hauled off to prison decades ago.”

    Oh, and I still laugh when I think about that link to George Will’s “Thanksgiving Death Porn”.

  17. Is the mythos of his maverickism that false?

    Well, yeah. He’s a frickin’ Senator beloved by the mainstream media. Nothing about that is consistent with being a “maverick.”

    Hell, on his signature issues he teamed up with leading Democrats. Since when is getting into bed with the Other Party a sign of maverickosity?

  18. What is with the photo? Reminds me in one of the scenes from “All The Presidents Men”, when Redford, defining supercool for the 70s, pulls the moves on some housewife non babe to get some key info to save America.
    I don’t know about the sun glasses. In Washington the only dudes who wear sunglasses on a consistent basis are FBI and Secret Service agents. Not a good image for editor in chief of a magazine decated to liberty to have.

  19. Matt Welch is Steve McQueen’s lovechild? Who knew?

  20. Since when is getting into bed with the Other Party a sign of maverickosity?

    MSM maverick. He bucked his own party once or twice! Kinda. OOOoooooohhh!! It gives me the soundbite my producer/editor wants! I just wet ’em!

  21. Welch on McCain

    I don’t really go for the man-on-man action, myself.

  22. America’s Future:
    That was goddamn disgusting. And not funny.
    Whatever McCain is, however a bully and an authoritarian Republican he is, he doesn’t deserve that shit.
    Whoever you are, go fuck yourself. Seriously.

  23. What does George Clooney’s character from Ocean’s Eleven have to do with this?

  24. “If liberty and security were at zero-sum odds, the world would still be disgraced by Ceausescu, Husak and Honecker. And if rights and ethics were handcuffs, America would have been hauled off to prison decades ago.”

    Of course we still are disgraced by the likes of Castro and the Kims and Mugabee and any number of other horrible regimes. Yeah, we don’t have Honecker or Ceausescu anymore but they managed to hang on for about 50 years and enslave millions. Nothing lasts forever and they certainly had a pretty good run while it lasted. There is nothing that says that liberty and ethics are guarenteed or that people who have the will and the firepower can’t take away your liberty and life if they choose to do so.

    “And if rights and ethics were handcuffs, America would have been hauled off to prison decades ago.”

    I wasn’t aware that the US was so ethical. Not to go all leftwing on people but the last time I read the history books, the US has done things like defeated and interned any Indian tribes that got in its way, kicked the crap out of Mexico on dubious pretenses, fought and won some nasty insurgencies in places like Central America and Philippines using tactics that I doubt Welch would approve of, won a World War by carpet bombing and eventually atomic bombing the enemy and won a cold war in no small measure by cooperating with some really nasty people who happened to share our dislike of communists. Not that the US doesn’t have its good qualities, it does. But the idea that the US has been some paragon of international virtue is monumentally wrong. The US got ahead in no small measure by winning wars and knocking the living snot out of anyone who got in our way. I suspect Welch knows that and is simply being disingenuous.

    I comment on this because it is one of those stupid statements that Reason staff seem to often make that sound good but make absolutely no sense when you think about them. If Welch objects to McCain’s view on the war on terror, that is his right and he ought to elucidate why. But stop insulting people’s intelligence by claiming that America is some paragon of “rights and ethics” in dealing with its enemies.

  25. Graphite,

    I thought it was Kenneth Branagh from Dead Again.

  26. Is that a picture of Matt Welch or John McCain?

    And does really need its own editor? One guy should be able to run the mag, the “tv” stuff, and go on Bill Oreilly.

    I have like 8 jobs!

  27. Is that a picture of Matt Welch or John McCain?

    I believe it’s Illya Kuryakin. McCain is just a pseudonym for Illya’s archenemy Sebastian Moran.

  28. John — Odd that you’re getting exercised about a 2005 blog post that had nothing whatsoever to do with John McCain.

    At any rate, managing “to hang on for about 50 years” is not my definition of “stability” (nor is getting dragged through the streets after being shot in the head). I happen to believe — and it’s just that: belief –that dictatorial regimes are inherently *un*stable, and weak, making the fabled “tradeoff between liberty and security” a worse-than-false choice. Liberty, and liberalism, creates *more* security, long-term, than authoritarianism.

    As for “the idea that the US has been some paragon of international virtue,” that’s really not anything I said, though on balance I think it has been more virtuous than most countries in history. (Not a high bar to jump, certainly.)

  29. Matt,

    That photo of you is much nicer than that one Nick posted of Brian when his latest book was released.

  30. Sounds like fun, and I wish I could have been there today. I’ll have to console myself with a trip to Manchester tonight for the McCain rally!

    Seriously — I like the surge. I like trying to win in Iraq. I’d rather America did not abandon those Iraqis who dared to try to build a democracy in the Middle East. So I like McCain.

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