Allow me to offer an answer:
It’s been sad — heartbreaking, really — watching John McCain’s self-described base, the elite media, mourn the passing of what they perceive to be McCain’s innocence. Traumatized by their hero’s lost honor, they’ve been almost overcome with grief. Here’s McCain, the man they’ve idolized for all of these years for his courage in war, his back of the campaign bus accessibility and, of course, for all the free booze he used to give them. Now, suddenly, he’s acting like an unprincipled hack.
They watch helplessly as he runs groundless attack ads, lies every time he opens his mouth and changes policy positions almost as often as he and his wife buy a new home or an extra car. They shake their heads in aghast as he makes an incredibly reckless selection for Vice President. And in what’s probably been his greatest sin of all — in the view of his former journalistic groupies — he’s now largely cut off the press corps from access (and maybe also the booze).
But, in truth, the media need not fret for the well-being of John McCain’s soul. If they will simply take the time to see things from his perspective — to walk in his ($520) shoes for awhile — they’ll soon realize that honor is still very much alive in the McCain worldview.
He simply has a very narcissistic understanding of the word’s meaning.
And, yes, here I’ll admit to the sin of purporting to read someone else’s mind, an undertaking always fraught with error. But what the hell: in the case of John McCain, this isn’t exactly rocket science.
And here’s the bottom line: to John McCain’s mind, honor demands that he be elected president. It’s that simple. And this being true, anything he does in pursuing that goal is, by definition, honorable. And anything anyone else does to obstruct his path is, also by definition, dishonorable.
McCain believes with all his heart that he deserves the presidency — that it’s owed to him. He served with great honor in Vietnam. He’s since served 26 years in Congress (four in the House the rest in the Senate). McCain believes his own press clippings — that he’s been a fearless maverick and a crusader against corruption. That the reality of his public life has often been somewhat different than this rose-colored rendition is merely one of those little inconveniences that most of us find it relatively easy to, at least to some degree, expel from our minds when constructing our own self-image.
And now, when at long last the brass ring he’s always longed for (and which, in his view, he richly deserves) is within reach, along comes a nobody from the Land of Lincoln with a silver-tongue and an enthusiastic young following threatening to take it all away. And to John McCain that’s just wrong; it’s an affront to him and even more, it’s a stain against the nation’s honor.
Have you ever wondered what McCain really thinks of Barack Obama? My guess is that if he were free to speak directly from the heart he would quote George Bailey’s words, spoken to Mr. Potter, in the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life:
“You sit around here and you spin your little webs and you think the whole world revolves around you and your (pretty words). Well, it doesn’t, Mr. (Obama). In the whole vast configuration of things, I’d say you were nothing but a scurvy little spider.”
Now, seriously, who looks a scurvy little spider in the eyes?