John McCain sits stock-still, eyes
shadowed by his wiry eyebrows, hair combed down slick and straight,
mouth turned down in grim resolve. On a stage in a high-school
auditorium in Mesa, Arizona, against the backdrop of a 30-foot American
flag, this is what a statue of Senator John Sidney McCain III might
look like: Veteran. Hero. Maverick.
problem is that he’s sitting next to Mitt Romney, who, at six foot two,
towers over him like a tanned and gleaming giant. McCain looks like Ed
McMahon to Romney’s Johnny Carson, quietly affirming whatever Romney
says, nodding and mouthing the word “Beautiful” after Romney gives a
soliloquy about the American spirit. McCain detested Romney in the 2008
primary, but now he needs his star power to draw the biggest crowd he’s
had since Palin was in town. This is politics—this is how you win. But
some have questions.
are two John McCains,” muses an old friend of the senator’s. “The one I
love is a very big man, and he’s willing to take on big issues in a big
way. Then there’s another side of John, he’ll admit, that is petty and
angry and petulant and small, and that side has overtaken the other
Hagan makes a strong case that McCain’s mavericky image was created by former aide and ghost writer Mark Salter. Salter is now out of the picture and Senator Walnuts is lost at sea. It *almost* made me feel sorry for McCain or I would if he’d ever been the man we all thought he was in 2000 and 2001.