Which is, in turn, based on the idea -- familiar to McCain watchers -- that most of his career can be interpreted as basically a series of temper tantrums. Do note: there's another plausible interpretation, which is that it's all straightforward opportunism (Left to save his career after the Keating 5! Still left to occupy vacant ground in 2000! Right to win the 2008 nomination! Even farther right to beat off a Tea Party challenge! Left again to regain his reputation with the national "neutral" press!). But while I certainly can't prove it, I tend to believe the tantrum explanation. Or at least emotion-based explanation. He gets wound up on things...they are usually at least compatible with his immediate electoral interests (as is the case with almost all politicians and their actions), but I don't really see good electoral reasons for his actions during Bush's first term, or for that matter right now.
Which leaves me, however, with one question that I don't have an answer to: are McCain's passions easily manipulable? Or are they all internally driven, and basically just something the rest of the political world has to navigate around. I suggested otherwise yesterday; I said that "a little more focus on Obama as a Kenyan socialist and a little less on nutty accusations of treason against Hagel might have gone a long way with the senator from Arizona." But I have no idea whether or not that's actually true. Hey, McCainologists: what do you think?