Like a lot of restless Americans, I was charmed by Senator John McCain during the 2000 primaries. A friend of mine described a journalist who was covering the campaign saying that McCain just fell under a spell there for a while, and started telling the truth ... and discovered that he liked it. So there he was, talking frankly about campaign finance—and for a while there, it seemed like he was genuinely reconsidering from first principles the policy questions that journalists were asking him. I remember a weird interview where a reporter asked him a hypothetical question about his daughter wanting an abortion, and he admitted that had just never occurred to him before, and he needed to think about it.
So I confess: I registered Republican for the one and only time in my life, so I could vote for him in the California primary. I wasn't sure that I wanted him to be President, but I wanted to find out what he would turn into because maybe, just maybe, the drug of truth would get him past his reflexive conservatism and turn him into something else. Something new. Maybe a Republican I could at least respect. Maybe a Republican I wouldn't mind seeing win. Maybe even a Republican I would vote for.
Well, maybe not.
The honeymoon didn't last. By the time the 2000 election had come around, he had reverted to form. And since then he's compromised everything there was to like about him, turned into a tool for the worst aspects of the Republican party, and gone past even that to become one of the most dangerous war hawks in American politics.
I've been meaning for quite a while to do a long post full of resources unpacking all of that, pointing to lefty bloggers who have been watching him closely, because I know that some folks are still imprinted on the McCain of Summer 2000. But I find that now I don't have to, because in less than a minute of video he demonstrates why he deserves neither power, nor a platform to speak from, nor even respect.