McCain the Chameleon

| Mon Dec. 7, 2009 12:02 PM EST

Here's the subhead on today's LA Times profile of John McCain:

The Arizona senator — and political celebrity — takes a spot on the front lines of the Republican Party's opposition to Obama. He's bipartisan no more, especially on healthcare.

And here's a bit of the text:

Gone is the maverick bridge-builder who bucked his party on high-voltage issues such as immigration, climate change and campaign finance reform. As the GOP has settled on a strategy of unremitting opposition to the Obama agenda, McCain has been front and center on the attack.

....Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), with whom McCain has tangled bitterly over campaign finance legislation, now could not be more effusive in his praise. "He's been a fabulous team player," McConnell said in an interview. "All I can tell you is that, in this Congress and post-campaign era, Sen. McCain has been incredible — on message and effective."

...."I've always seen two John McCains — one who has the partisan, angry side; and a nice, cooperative, bipartisan side," said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who has been working on climate change legislation that McCain has opposed. "I have not seen the bipartisan side in a long time."

I hope no one is surprised by this.  When McCain is running for president or thinking of running for president, he's a bipartisan maverick.  When he's not, he's a conservative die-hard.  And now that the presidency is plainly out of reach forever, he's taken his non-campaign mode to its natural extreme and become a snarling right-wing pit bull.  This was entirely predictable, since McCain's public persona has always shifted with the political winds, and the political winds have finally spoken decisively about his future.

And yet, somehow he's managed to maintain his reputation for maverickiness through it all.  I wonder if the press will ever figure out just how badly they've been played by this guy over the years?

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