From the Arizona Republic:

In tight Senate votes, McCain not a maverick

When it matters the most, he seldom bucks his own party

Ronald J. Hansen
The Arizona Republic
May. 7, 2008 12:00 AM

Over the years, Sen. John McCain has publicly condemned Republican Party leaders and occasionally voted against the GOP on selected issues.

But an Arizona Republic analysis of his Senate votes on the most divided issues in the past decade shows that McCain almost never thwarted his party's objectives.

What do you know? An article that actually takes a feature of the McCain image, and -- hold on to your hats -- attempts to ascertain whether it's true. I'm floored.

It's no accident that this is coming from the Arizona Republic. While the Republic is generally considered a pretty conservative paper, they have tangled with McCain a great deal over the years, mostly because they haven't been particularly inclined to simply repeat over and over that he's a StraightTalkingMaverickReformer. As a consequence, McCain has always acted as though he pretty much hates their guts. (In 2000, he wouldn't even let the Republic's reporter have a seat on the Straight Talk Express. So while the national media were whooping it up on board the party bus, she had to follow along in a rental car. And this is the largest paper in his home state.)

One thing I've noticed lately is that there are a bunch of Chicago reporters (like Lynn Sweet and Jim Warren, for instance) who have become regulars on cable TV, presumably because they know a lot about Barack Obama. But the reporters who have known John McCain the longest and know him the best -- the ones from Arizona -- are nowhere to be seen. Why do you think that is?

-- Paul Waldman

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