Thursday, August 1, 2013

Is John McCain the maverick...

...back? Or is something else going on here?

After McCain was defeated by George W. Bush for the 2000 Republican nomination, the Arizona senator opposed the new president on a number of issues, including HMO reform, climate change, gun legislation and campaign finance reform. Oh, and McCain famously voted against the Bush tax cuts twice.

At one point, it was even rumored that he was considering switching parties!

In 2008, when McCain lost the election to a relative newcomer, he quickly became a thorn in President Obama's side. He opposed the stimulus package and the Affordable Care Act, voted against Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, criticized the new president's foreign policy and led a successful filibuster of a measure that would have allowed repeal of the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy toward gays.

McCain's surprising behavior led one of his advisers to say, "A lot of people, including me, thought he might be the Republican building bridges to the Obama Administration. But he's been more like the guy blowing up the bridges."

Now, in 2013, pundits are talking about a return of the old McCain, the maverick, the John McCain before the 2000 election. This McCain is critical of the tea party and the freshman senators whom he calls "wacko birds."

But is this really the new John McCain, or just the old one who seems to always get irritated with whomever he feels slighted by last? First it was Bush, the dauphin as Maureen Dowd called him, who stepped in front of him to be president. Then it was Obama, "The One," as Oprah Winfrey nicknamed him, who also denied McCain his rightful place in the White House. And now it's senators like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the new kids on the block who won't pay him the proper tribute as the elder statesman of his party.

Maybe John McCain the maverick isn't back after all. Maybe this latest version is just the same old cranky guy who is nothing more than a sore loser with a thin skin.

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