Ah, to remember the days when some of us were naive enough to believe that The Weekly Standard could sink no lower than Jeane Kirkpatrick: An American Girlhood (remember, that was a cover story). But yesterday brought news that this week's cover piece is...wait for it... A Hero's Life: Remembering John McCain's Teacher. That's right:

Much has been written about John McCain's presidential campaign, about his conservative ideology (or insufficient supply thereof), about his age, his military service, and his remarkable life story. Most of what's been written, however, proceeds from the assumption that McCain, for all his maverick tendencies, is at heart a politician like any other, prey to the same ambitions, vanities, temptations, and weaknesses endemic to all presidential hopefuls.

That's not the case. He's a very different animal, and not just because of his Naval warrior forebears, his indomitable 96-year-old mother, or his experiences as a POW in Vietnam--though all those obviously influenced him profoundly. A major reason he's different is a remarkable teacher we both shared in school, an incalculable shaper of mind and character named William Bee Ravenel III.

In case you are concerned that there is no way the rest of the article could live up to this opening, here is a paragraph chosen at random:

It was not simply Ravenel's academic influence that was so profound, McCain told his audience: "He helped teach me to be a man, and to believe in the possibility that we are not captive to the worst parts of our nature."

To top things off, the piece ends with Ravenel's ire at Brown v. Board of Education (he was "no bigot," you see, but rather had a "blind spot"). 

Up next: A cover feature on Donald Rumsfeld's favorite summer camp activities.

--Isaac Chotiner