McCAIN MAVERICKINESS WATCH….Is John McCain really a maverick? His home state newspaper investigates the cases where his vote actually made a difference:

Over the years, Sen. John McCain has publicly condemned Republican Party leaders and occasionally voted against the GOP on selected issues. But an Arizona Republic analysis of his Senate votes on the most divided issues in the past decade shows that McCain almost never thwarted his party’s objectives.

….During the 10 years The Republic examined, McCain crossed over to vote with Democrats 19 times in 82 close votes. He did so just once in the four years he was running for president: 1999, 2000, 2007 and 2008.

What this really reveals isn’t so much McCain’s principles, conservative or otherwise, as his lack of them. During the six years he wasn’t running for president, McCain publicly and gaudily promoted his maverick credentials by voting against his party 18 times. But in the four years he was running for president, Mr. Straight Talk suddenly became Mr. Straight Ticket, voting against the GOP only once.

Conclusion: he’ll do whatever it takes to get your vote. During off years he pimps for the independent vote and during election years he pimps for the conservative vote. Sure, it’s craven, but it’s a nice gig if you can get away with it.

Via Steven Benen, who has more.

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