Free Minds & Free Markets

A Libertarian Take on John McCain's Restless Wave and the Legacy of an 'Authoritarian Maverick': Podcast

McCain biographer Matt Welch talks about the Arizona Republican's latest book and personal crusades.

Few politicians have made more of an impact on their times than Arizona Sen. John McCain, who is battling brain cancer.

His new book, The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations, has just been published and is already making news. In it, the 81-year-old former prisoner of war and torture survivor talks frankly about Donald Trump, the mainstream media, and his congressional colleagues. Throughout his career, McCain positioned himself as a centrist and a "straight talker"; his pushes for campaign finance laws and military interventions put him at odds with libertarians even as he was friendly toward immigration and trade.

In the latest Reason Podcast, Nick Gillespie talks with Matt Welch about McCain's life and legacy. In 2008, when the senator was the Republican nominee for president, Matt published McCain: The Myth of a Maverick, a tough-but-fair assessment that had its origins as a 2007 Reason cover story called "Be Afraid of President McCain: The frightening mind of an authoritarian maverick." No one is more qualified to talk about John McCain's life and legacy than his biographer, Matt Welch.

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Audio production by Ian Keyser.

Photo credit: Christopher Fitzgerald/Chris Fitzgerald/CandidatePhotos/Newscom

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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.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    GTFO. There is no libertarian take on McCain.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Yes there is: he sucks.

    There is no libertarian case for McCain.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Sure there is: McCain sucks.

  • Aloysious||

    Yes there is:

    To use Old Testament lingo... John McCain doth sucketh and bloweth.

  • Napoleon Bonaparte||

    Few politicians have made more of an impact on their times than Arizona Sen. John McCain, who is battling brain cancer.

    Pray for the cancer.

  • Mickey Rat||

    If looks could kill, then Welch should never be in a room with McCain. He has to be high on McCain's enemies list.

    What McCain did, pushing campaign finance reform in the form of McCain-Feingold is the most unforgivable act of his career. It led the Obama Administration to argue the government had the authority the censor books as contributions in kind (i.e. speech/press is money, and therefore subject to regulation).

  • ||

    There's your libertarian take.

    That's awful.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Nazi confirmed.

  • Teddy Pump||

    No way that was his worst act!!!!....How about his time as a Traitor in Vietnam (They did not call him the "Songbird" for nothing) & his push for the IMMORAL & ILLEGAL US wars, interventions, coups & drones!!!

    McCain The Lame & Insane is an Elite NWO Global Zionist POS & he showed it against Obummy when he layed down & died in the campaign despite having tons of ammunition against The Kenyan King....He got his marching orders to step aside foe the satanic flavor of the day!

    I'm no big fan of Trump's, but if there is such visceral hatred & opposition towards him from the likes of McCain shows he must be doing something right!

  • IceTrey||

    It's disgusting the way he refuses to resign.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    McCain is a RINO because only a Democrat would fuck over conservative Americans and their slight majority in the Senate.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    McCain biographer Matt Welch

    Way to bury the lede here, people. "Unauthorized biographer" would be a more accurate description. Permission to treat the witness as hostile, your honor.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Pretty sure Matt is hoping McCain's impending death will lead somebody, somewhere, to buy his book. Of course that would require that somebody somewhere gives a shit about what Matt thinks about John McCain. Seems unlikely to me.

  • El Oso||

    Ah, someday, hopefully real soon, we won't have McBomber to kick around anymore, and then we will have to find someone else to pick on, maybe that wimp of a senator from one of the Carolinas, what's-his-name...Graham Cracker?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "Gramnesty " That's what we call him here in South Carolina.

  • Rockabilly||

    Fuck McCain - he's an asshole.

  • Anastasia Beaverhausen||

    Is there a transcript available?

  • AlgerHiss||

    Trump took a lot of heat when he mentioned something about how he liked real heroes and not the likes of McCain who became a prisoner.

    I think I know what Trump meant, of which when he said it, I chuckled and agreed. Here's my interpretation of Trump's quip:

    The reason McCain got shot down and became a prisoner, was that he was a shit, low-skilled pilot. If he'd had possessed better pilot skills, he'd never been captured. He couldn't fly a plane to save his ass.

  • TxJack 112||

    McCain is a RINO and a fraud. He portrays himself as a conservative when in reality he is a progressive who just has a love affair with the use of military power. McCain loves himself more than anything or anyone which is why he is such a jerk.

  • Pat001||

    Funny how you never hear about "maverick" Democrats. That's because there aren't any.


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