I have been a longtime admirer of John McCain. During the 2000 Republican presidential primaries I publicly defended McCain against the pro-Bush Republicans' whisper campaign that he was too unstable to be president (aware though I was that he had a temper). Two years later I published a positive book about him, "Citizen McCain."
Now he's back to declaring himself a maverick, but it's not clear what that means. If he gains the presidency, is he going to rebel against the base he's now depending on to get him elected? (Hence his selection of running mate Sarah Palin.) Campaigns matter. If he means "shaking up the system" (which is not the same thing), opposing earmarks doesn't cut it.
McCain's recent conduct of his campaign - his willingness to lie repeatedly (including in his acceptance speech) and to play Russian roulette with the vice-presidency, in order to fulfill his long-held ambition - has reinforced my earlier, and growing, sense that John McCain is not a principled man.
In fact, it's not clear who he is.