by Jim Nintzel
Slate's Jacob Weisberg calls Republican John McCain "the saddest senator":
I've stopped reading news about John McCain for the same reason I tune out the daily updates on Afghanistan and the BP oil spill: It's just too damned depressing. Well into the 2008 primary season, McCain still showed glimmers of a gutsy, independent spirit, speaking out of turn and bucking his party on issues of conscience, like the use of torture. Since losing to Barack Obama, however, he's turned into the kind of party hack he used to live to mess with.
In the last few months, McCain has flipped his position on dropping the military's anti-gay "don't ask, don't tell" policy, soft-pedaled his support for climate-change legislation, and dropped his support for humane, comprehensive immigration reform. In just the past week, he has come out against Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination on the lamest of grounds and defended Arizona's ugly anti-immigrant law against challenge by the Justice Department.
It's hard to believe that this is the same guy who, a decade ago, was denouncing Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as "agents of intolerance," who reduced Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to a sputtering rage with his efforts to ban soft money, who opposed Bush's tax cuts, and who stood up to Dick Cheney on the treatment of accused terrorists. When McCain told Newsweek earlier this year that he has never considered himself a "maverick," it sounded like another confession under duress, with the Tea Party standing in for the Viet Cong.