Comp. w/ McCain

Who He Is:

As a point of comparison for the discussion below, consider the piece on McCain in today's New York Times:

Mr. McCain, 71, acquired the sobriquet “maverick” about a decade ago. When he was first elected to the Senate in 1986, after two terms in the House, he was in the mainstream of his party. He even made a credible, though unsuccessful, run for a party leadership post.

But his popularity did not last. First, there was his “truculent nature,” as he calls it. His Republican colleagues call him aggressive, brusque and abrasive. He later adopted the habit of publicly scolding other senators about their special privileges, from pet spending projects to airport parking spots. What Mr. Lott called his “cuddling up” to the Democrats has further strained Mr. McCain’s relations with Republicans.

“I suppose over the last 10 years he has passed more significant legislation than any senator around,” said Senator Judd Gregg, a conservative New Hampshire Republican frequently at odds with Mr. McCain. “But that doesn’t necessarily entail being liked.”
The piece continues in that fashion: now quoting a McCain supporter, now a detractor. Lincoln Chafee, a Republican, plans to vote for Obama apparently (to read the piece) because he's developed a personal dislike for McCain's 'Naval Academy' style. Russ Feingold, a Democrat, is a friend to McCain and works with him, and says that McCain reaches out to younger legislators in a way unusual for senior Senators. Supporters say he demonstrates actual bipartisanship, not just talk of bipartisanship. Detractors say he has a temper. Supporters say he never runs from a fight on principle. Detractors say that he's stronger with independents and Democrats than Republicans.

Something like this is what you'd expect to see in a man who puts himself forward for election to the highest office in the nation: a record of accomplishments, of good and bad qualities, based on which you make a measured evaluation and vote.

Whatever else can be said about Senator McCain, we know who he is.

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