[From Ben Smith at Politico.]
[*]Here's how Mark Kleiman describes McCain's fictional "Maverickness."
- "Maverick" means "Not a Leader." Leadership requires consistency as well as compromise. McCain really has neither. Yes he has at the margins been for some good government things -- campaign funding, anti-earmarks, but it's notable here that except for limited success on campaign financing, he has never brought together a sustained coalition in the Senate -- in general he's been a loner who hasn't led except by bullying from the outside. How far has he gotten with his anti-earmark crusade? Are there any Senators who have consistently followed McCain? (At most Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman, but I bet even their voting records don't track McCain's.) Is there any evidence that he could lead an administration made up of strong cabinet members to work with the Congress toward a common purpose?
- "Maverick," in McCain's case, means "unpredictable, unreliable, reactionary hot head." The legendary temper means he is not to be trusted in a crisis. He reacts rather than reflecting first. Ready-fire-aim. Maybe even Fire-Ready-Aim.
- The Bush III Part— A sometime maverick with no leadership capacity, McCain has no consistent philosophy apart from the Republican orthodoxy. In fact, he is right wing (and ignorant of economics.) McCain's positions and his record are in line with Gingrich republicanism -- right wing on economics (tax and regulatory policies), personal freedom (abortion, etc.), civil liberties, etc. -- That's his starting point. And those around him – Phil Gramm, the lobbyists, etc. – show how he will govern.