The Descent of John McCain

| Sat Dec. 18, 2010 6:34 PM PST

Joe Klein on John McCain, who led the charge this weekend against both the DREAM Act and the repeal of DADT:

I used to know a different John McCain, the guy who proposed comprehensive immigration reform with Ted Kennedy, the guy — a conservative, to be sure, but an honorable one — who refused to indulge in the hateful strictures of his party's extremists. His public fall has been spectacular, a consequence of politics — he "needed" to be reelected — and personal pique. He's a bitter man now, who can barely tolerate the fact that he lost to Barack Obama. But he lost for an obvious reason: his campaign proved him to be puerile and feckless, a politician who panicked when the heat was on during the financial collapse, a trigger-happy gambler who chose an incompetent for his vice president. He has made quite a show ever since of demonstrating his petulance and lack of grace.

I was never all that entranced by McCain even back in his Straight Talk Express 1.0 days, but like him or not he was a mostly honorable guy. It's hard to recognize the same man in the seething stew of resentment and bitterness he's become. I suspect that someday he'll come to regret what he allowed the past four years to do to him.

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