Maureen Dowd says the Maverick is gone and wonder’s why. (emphasis mine):
The Maverick’s buck stops here.
John McCain is no longer the media’s delight and his party’s burr, bucking convention with infectious relish.
The man used to be such a constructive independent that some of his Republican Senate colleagues called him a traitor. Now he’s such a predictable obstructionist that he’s in the just-say-no vanguard with the same conservatives who used to despise him.
John McCain was never a Maverick.
Maverick was a campaign image wrapped around a far right senator from Arizona in the 2000 Presidential Republican Primary by high priced consultants Mike Murphy and Mark McKinnon who apparently either loved Top Gun (or possibly Mel Gibson’s movie Maverick). He was always a conservative and why conservatives disliked McCain was because he embraced this “Mavericky” image even though in practice, he was a far right Senator in a pretty far right delegation who skewed left on two issues (immigration and spending) that fit his state demographic. Nothing wrong with him being that, it was just wrong to tag him as someone who bucked his party as much or more than he voted with his party.
After the 2000 South Carolina primary, I doubt a “maverick” would have heartily jumped in to support George W. Bush. A “maverick” also wouldn’t have let his “friend” John Kerry be swift boated without saying it was unfair. He was pretty MAvericky when he repeatedly opposed an MLK holiday and he was maverick with maverick sauce on top when he opposed US divestment from apartheid South Africa.
Either way its fitting that they built McCain’s brand after a movie character played by one of two guys that used to be golden and have since been exposed as people prone to ridiculous public outbursts.