In the 2000 primaries, the right wing of the Republican Party so badly damaged the electoral prospects of John McCain with smears, lies, and distortions that it cost him the Presidency at a time when he might actually have done a fair job.
I would not have voted for him then -- I wanted Al Gore -- but I think I could have tolerated the 2000 version of a McCain Presidency if it had happened. I know I would have tolerated it better than the anti-Constitutional cabal that displaced him.
Many Democrats, myself included, have watched in amazement and disgust as this relatively benign Republican morphed from a straight-talking maverick in 2000 into a 2008 ideological sycophant in league with the very Neocons and Theocons who once destroyed him.
We here are used to being cynical analysts of the motives and deeds Republican politicians -- we tend to see them in a purely sinister light -- but McCain's transformation felt somehow hurtful to me.
Was I really that naive about him in 2000? Or was I right all along, and is something else going on?
Except on the rarest of occasions, politicians are creatures who act in their own self-interest. I wish that were different, but it's true.
His choice of Sarah Palin as Vice President is mystifying to me. It undercuts all of his core electoral arguments. It's not in his own self-interest. It's as if he wants to lose.
The timing of the decision is particularly curious to me, too. It seems that he was all set to choose either Romney or Pawlenty, and was just waiting for Obama to finish his acceptance speech to announce his decision.
But then... Obama spoke.
And when Obama spoke, McCain knew that he would never be President of the United States... ever... and McCain became angry.
And as the anger rose within him, he decided to take his revenge on the people who denied him his page in the history books.
Damn the consequences to himself: He would destroy those who destroyed him.
In the middle of the night, McCain sent Romney and Pawlenty packing; he called in Palin. Perhaps he thought to himself: Be careful what you wish for, you right wing assholes, you just might get it.
Could John McCain ever make such an angry and impulsive decision?
Of course. Just ask his Republican colleagues in the Senate.
I think Palin is McCain's attempt to destroy the right wing of the Republican Party.
And if I'm right, it would actually make me respect him -- just a little -- once again.