THE BLOG

The Return of the Old John McCain

05/17/2011 06:54 pm ET | Updated Jul 17, 2011
  • Larry Hirsch Team Leader, Essex County Organizing for Action

In the early parts of the 2000 campaign, John McCain was proving himself to be a different type of Republican. While he was as conservative as the rest, he became a Maverick by stating what was on his mind and got a reputation for telling the truth. One could disagree with his politics, but with his history as a POW and the Straight Talk Express, you had to respect him.

After the Bush machine crushed him in 2000 and his ambition made him make peace with the machine, the John McCain you respected disappeared. He became a reflexive Republican attack dog, ganging up on Democrats and spouting the Republican orthodoxy. This came to a head when he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008. The old McCain would never have done that. He would have made sure that someone qualified was running for vice president.

It seems now that the old McCain might be back. After Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of the Bush crew went on TV saying that torture methods like waterboarding were responsible for getting Osama bin Laden, McCain it seems could take no more. It was heartening to see a proud American stand up and say that the Republican Revisionists were wrong and that torture and waterboarding was wrong. He suffered torture, so he should know. He acknowledged the truth that most of the information that led to bin Laden's doom came from old-fashioned intelligence gathering, not waterboarding. It is good to see this John McCain back, a Republican and an individual you can respect.