I was still giving McCain some credit for being a mensch in those days, but that was before I knew about his own checkered marital history, his reputation for being a hothead, and the fact that his POW experience was perhaps the only part of his military service that showed any guts at all.
McCain managed to overcome being one of the "Keating Five", for all that McCain was the only one who was up Keating's ass so far he could see out of the man's nose. Today no one even mentions the Keating scandal when talking about John McCain. Despite being the insider's insider, the Beltway crowed bestowed on him the "maverick" meme (something he embraced until this year, when the ascendance of the tea party lunatics forced him to run as a frothing mouthbreather they could count on). He's been the darling of the Sunday morning talk show set for over a decade. But the one thing he wanted more than anything else, the one thing that would help him resolve his own issues with his father, was the presidency. And that was denied him by not just an upstart from a northern union city, but a BLACK upstart from a northern union city. That his 2008 loss galls him has been plain from his behavior ever since.
So now we're seeing the REAL John McCain -- the petty, angry, greedy, venal small man who's been holding the cardboard cutout of "War Hero Maverick" in front of himself all these years to hide the sniveling little rat-faced git that lurks behind it. When the generals say it's time to allow gay men and women to serve openly in the military, when even the loathsome John Ensign can be persuaded that it's time, John McCain was still out there to the bitter end, insisting that somehow if gay men and women were allowed to serve, soldiers would end up with amputated legs.
This is the real John McCain:
Whether he's always been like this or if this is the "new" John McCain -- a product of bitterness and resentment so deep that it's poisoning him from the inside out -- remains to be seen. But one thing on which McCain could always rely is the slobbering devotion of the Washington Press corps.
Now he can't even rely on that anymore. He's lost Dana Milbank, and if he's lost this hack di tutti hacks, he's lost the Sally Quinn crowd:
If John McCain gets any more hostile toward his Senate colleagues, they might consider having him go through the metal detector before he enters the Capitol.