The concession speech is always the classiest. (See also Hillary) As a one-time admirer of John McCain, I was grateful to see him at his patriotic, eloquent best tonight. It harkened back to his performance during the first half of the Bush administration, when he was one of the best spokesmen for a progressive agenda in Washington. During the past campaign, I wondered if his performance during those years was an aberration. Was he only driven to the left by his hatred for George W. Bush and his despicable performance in the 2000 primary? Or was he a decent man with humane instincts who had never thought about the world very hard—but had the capability for genuine outrage when confronted with injustice?
McCain made a devil’s deal when he decided to run for the presidency this cycle. He reconciled himself with George W. Bush’s party and the Karl Rove style of dirty politics. His flip-flops were some of the most absurd in recent history. My reading is that he clearly didn’t feel comfortable with this new persona. You could see it in his unease in interviews and his overall moodiness. My guess is that he’s going to spend the next few years atoning for his performance these past couple of months—and the fact that he’s about to become a pi