The old straight-talking, damn-the-talking-points John McCain, it is now clear, ceased to exist in the summer of 2004, when he put an emphatic end to four years of well-grounded chatter that heâ€™d abandon the Republican Party and mount a Teddy Rooseveltâ€“style Presidential bid as an independent.
Instead, Mr. McCain threw himself headlong into an effort to re-elect President George W. Bushâ€”the same man he once charged with â€œtwisting the truth like Clinton.â€ (And this was before the President had ever uttered a word about W.M.D. or uranium enrichment.) Public courtships of Jerry Falwell and creationism enthusiasts soon followed.
Mr. Hagel, meanwhile, has taken up where Mr. McCain left off, scorning his partyâ€™s high priests and relieving himself in their sacred temples. Now, the 60-year-old Nebraskanâ€”like Mr. McCain, a decorated Vietnam veteranâ€”is edging toward parlaying that appealing independence into a Presidential bid.
Related: The Anti-War Republican Presidential Candidate? (politricks.mnp)
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