McCain Biographer: He's Lost His Principles

McCain's best accomplishments might have been cynical maneuvering
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2008 4:38 PM CDT
In this Feb. 4, 2008 file photo, Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, speaks during a campaign stop in Hamilton, N.J.    (AP Photo/Mel Evans, file)
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(Newser) – Elizabeth Drew liked McCain—she even wrote a fawning biography, Citizen McCain, in 2002. She respected the centrist who emerged after McCain’s failed 2000 primary bid, who broke from Bush on tax cuts and campaign finance reform. But watching McCain’s current campaign maneuver back to the right, she questions in Politico whether his former, principled image was anything but “a temporary, expedient tactic.”

McCain’s agreement to a 2006 “compromise” on treatment of inmates at Guantanamo Bay trampling habeas corpus and loosening restrictions on torture was the moment where Drew’s "Citizen McCain" died. McCain 2008’s fact-twisting attack ads, focus on blowhard issues like “earmarks,” and irresponsible but flashy choice of a running mate has reinforced Drew’s earlier doubt: “that John McCain is not a principled man.”