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The Cynical McCain

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This is a must read piece on John McCain in

Vanity Fair

. The article captures the extreme ruthlessness that has kept McCain at the forefront of American politics and seen his values disintegrate bit by bit over time. Money quote:

McCain would go on to trounce Hayworth in the August primary, by 24 points, but not before turning himself into an off-putting, almost unrecognizable political creature. In the face of Hayworth’s challenge, McCain flipped his position on repealing the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gay service members; soft-pedaled his backing of climate-change legislation; and abandoned his longtime support for comprehensive immigration reform that would recognize reality and provide an eventual path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal aliens already living in the country. Instead, he offered full-throated backing for the border fence he once mocked—“Complete the danged fence!,” he demanded in an ad—and sought political cover in the form of an endorsement by his former running mate, Sarah Palin, whose selection was surely the single most cynical decision he ever made in nearly 30 years in public life. Last January, after the Supreme Court overturned a key element of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance bill (its limits on corporate and union contributions), McCain announced that he would not join congressional efforts to find a legislative way around the court’s decision. This spring he went as far as to declare to David Margolick in Newsweek that he had never considered himself a maverick at all, prompting that acid commentator on human foibles Jon Stewart to observe that McCain had not only sold his soul but sold it short.