PARTISANSHIP…. The Washington Post’s David Broder continues to hold John McCain in the highest regard.

With the McCain family military tradition and the high patriotism forged by his own prisoner-of-war experience, McCain — like the heroes of FDR’s and Truman’s time — disdains partisanship and searches for the national interest, wherever he can find it.

Maybe he’s thinking of a different John McCain.

“During lunch, McCain said, almost with mischievous glee, that he had slipped some highly technical questions to [James McClure] to ask Mofford — questions she wouldn’t be prepared to answer or expected to answer.

“Flabbergasted, I asked McCain why would he want to sabotage Mofford’s testimony, when in fact the CAP was the nonpartisan pet of Republicans and Democrats — such as far-left Udall and far-right Goldwater — since its inception.

“His reply, as near as I remember, was, ‘I’ll embarrass a Democrat any time I get the chance.’”

This notion that McCain “disdains partisanship” is a myth he’s worked hard to cultivate. It’s also completely wrong, as those of us who’ve watched the campaign know.

This need not be complicated. McCain hired Karl Rove’s disciples to run an ugly, dishonest, and ultimately small campaign, which has put partisanship and self-interest above all. And while some of McCain’s more enthusiastic cheerleaders in the media like to argue that this style of destructive politics was foisted upon McCain involuntarily — David Brooks, I’m looking in your direction — McCain had a choice, and he chose to become a transparent Republican hack, more interested in winning the news cycle than keeping his integrity.

McCain “disdains partisanship and searches for the national interest, wherever he can find it”? Please.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.