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John McCain Is About Survival, Not Principle: Vanity Fair

John McCain, CIndy McCain

Sen. John McCain and wife, Cindy, arrivea at their polling station Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010 in Phoenix. Matt York/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Matt York/AP

The love affair some in the national media had with Sen. John McCain ended some time ago.

Like years ago. Like even before the 2008 election as McCain became less mavericky as he embraced President George W. Bush in an attempt to win the Republican presidential nomination.

And a new assessment of the senator from Arizona in Vanity Fair just demonstrates just how on the rocks McCain's relationship with the media has become.

The days of the 2000 campaign when McCain would regale reporters on the back of his Straight Talk Express campaign bus for hours on end have come to this: a highly critical VF piece by writer Todd Purhum in which McCain is described as the ultimate survivor who only values his self-perpetuation in the Senate.

For the Senate is the only thing that gives his life meaning, according to the piece which paints McCain as a tragic figure and all those who once believed he stood for something noble as blind to the truth.

An excerpt:

The prevailing question about John McCain this year is: What happened? What happened to that other John McCain, the refreshingly unpredictable figure who stood apart from his colleagues and seemed to promise something better than politics as usual? The question may miss the point. It’s quite possible that nothing at all has changed about John McCain, a ruthless and self-centered survivor who endured five and a half years in captivity in North Vietnam, and who once told Torie Clarke that his favorite animal was the rat, because it is cunning and eats well. It’s possible to see McCain’s entire career as the story of a man who has lived in the moment, who has never stood for any overriding philosophy in any consistent way, and who has been willing to do all that it takes to get whatever it is he wants. He himself said, in the thick of his battle with Hayworth, “I’ve always done whatever’s necessary to win.” Maybe the rest of us just misunderstood.

If there's any hope of reconciliation between McCain and the media that once loved him, it's hard to see.

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