It's really not. Especially not if you're from Arizona.
Gramarye over at Daily Kos found two articles by Arizona reporters who know St. John all too well - and know he's no damned saint at all. Not a saint, not a maverick, and not a man fit to be president.
Pat Murphy, former editor and publisher of the Arizona Republic:
I'm among the swelling ranks of onetime McCain acquaintances ostracized for not being slavishly loyal. After McCain settled in Arizona with his young second wife, a millionaire, he asked me at dinner for help with a political career. As editorial page editor (and later publisher) of the Arizona Republic, I declined to be his political coach. However, we socialized, including dinners at his home. We even discussed writing a book. The relationship ended, however, when our newspaper exposed McCain as a liar who used an underhanded political trick.[snip]
More of McCain's style:
McCain indulges in hypocrisy with a flair. He attacks tobacco but ignores alcohol. Why? His wife's millions flow from the family beer and wine distributorship, Arizona's largest.
The affable, candid, gregarious candidate, who mingles with reporters and yuks it up in the back of the bus, is no friend of free speech, and merely tolerates and uses the press as part of his political strategy. In Arizona, McCain tries to subdue reporters by threatening to have them fired when he's displeased with their pieces. Upset about critical reporting in the Phoenix New Times by Amy Silverman, McCain complained to her father, Richard, general manager of the Salt River Project, an Arizona hydroelectric utility. McCain's intent seemed clear: muscling the federally chartered SRP in hopes Silverman would pressure his daughter to back off.
Those of us who’ve known John McCain since he began his Arizona political career made two mistakes.
First, overestimating the Washington media’s willingness to look beyond a politician’s self-serving façade.
Second, underestimating McCain’s skill in camouflaging his bullyboy ways and reincarnating himself as a lovable maverick glowing with political virtue.
Sound like anyone we know and loathe? I thought so.
I've been a writer and editor at New Times for 15 years. For much of that time, I wrote about Arizona politics, which is to say that I wrote about John McCain. It's still odd to see the guy in the spotlight, because for quite a while, I was pretty much the only one covering him.
I never did fall for him in the way reporters fall for politicians, probably because he wasn't much to fall for back in the early 1990s. In those days, McCain was still rehabilitating the image he'd later sell to the national media. He was known then for cavorting in the Bahamas with Charlie Keating, rather than for fighting for campaign finance reform and limited government spending.
That's the thing about covering John McCain. Someone always wants you to give him the benefit of the doubt. And there's usually a pretty good case for why he deserves it, though that doesn't mean he should be let off the hook completely.
[snip]Watching him up on the stage, struggling with the teleprompter, Cindy looking miserable next to him, I almost pitied the GOP's presumptive nominee. No more nasty jokes, no public outbursts. He's reduced to talking about climate change and accusing Obama of being the media's flavor of the day.
"Don't feel sorry for him," a friend said. "The guy might wind up president."
There's a lot of eye-opening stuff in that post from people who have known him for many, many years. And I think you'll find that while Johnny's changed the masks he wears, the person behind them has always been the same: a hot-headed son of a bitch who will do anything to win, and who will fuck the country over if he does.