Reason Writers Around Town: Matt Welch in Politico on John McCain's "Maverick" Persona


As Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) fights off a primary challenge in a state convulsing over immigration and other concerns, commentators from Dana Milbank to The New York Times editorial board are expressing chagrin that the man they once admired is turning his back on the "maverick" label. But, as Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch explains in Politico, history has amply demonstrated that "John McCain will do or say, or undo or unsay, just about anything to win an election." Excerpt:

Carmelita! Hold me tighter! I think I'm sinking down.

In this comical flip-floppery he is absolutely no different than 95 percent of all politicians, from Barack Obama to McCain's clownish primary opponent, J.D. Hayworth (whose own political manifesto, after all, is entitled Whatever it Takes). The only reason we're even talking about it as a news story now is that the "maverick" appellation has been one of the most successful acts of political branding in modern history […]

I hope McCain beats Hayworth. But I hope much more that the press, at long last, starts covering McCain as he is, rather than the memory of what they mistakenly thought he was.

Read the whole thing here.