Pew Research did a survey where they asked people to provide one word to sum up their feelings about John McCain. You can read this Baltimore Sun piece about the survey, but I wanted to invite readers of this weblog to answer the question, and perhaps provide an explanation. My answer follows.
“Disappointment” is my word.
I know it may seem hard to believe, given how much I’ve campaigned for Barack Obama this year, but there was a time, in 2000, when I almost wanted McCain to be president. I didn’t think Gore vs Bush offered meaningful difference (in hindsight I see this was wrong), and I saw McCain and his straight talk as the best hope for a meaningful Presidential election. I saw what happened to him in South Carolina and became more convinced that both parties had nominated the wrong person.
Then, when he supported Bush in 2000 and again in 2004, I stopped believing in his independence. I want to vote for a candidate who, as the CEO of a company is responsible to the shareholders (at least in theory) — is responsible to American voters and taxpayers. The Republicans didn’t have a candidate running this year who fit that bill, although I, and many others, believed the John McCain of Y2K was that candidate.
So, I don’t think “old,” technically, is the right word — and if “lost his way” were one word instead of three, I might have said that. My view of McCain is best summed up as “disappointment.” At one time he had potential, but he sold it out in favor of cynicism.
I’d also note that my view in 2000 was probably wrong. Now that he’s the presumptive Republican nominee, I’ve learned more about him, and see that his past is checkered with compromise. It seems more likely that in 2000 he had a good sales pitch, and wasn’t what he appeared to be.
PS: I wrote a disclaimer on politics in September 2000, which I stand by almost 8 years later.
PPS: The other thing that disappointed me was the end of the last episode of BSG, which aired on Friday. I want more. But this was the last episode before the final run of 10 that might not air until next year. And we still don’t know who final Cylon is. Oy.