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John McCain is one of the most familiar, sympathetic, and overexposed figures in American politics, yet his concrete governing philosophy and actual track record have been left curiously unexamined, mostly because of the massive distractions in his official biography, but also because of his ingenious strategy of talking ad infinitum to each and every access-craving media person who happens by. The more he has spouted, the less journalists have bothered trying to see through the fog.
McCain gives the voting public what it wants but can't find - a flesh-and-bones political portrait of a man onto whom people are forever projecting their own ideological fantasies. It is a psychological key for decoding his allegedly 'maverick' actions, and the first realistic assessment of what a John McCain presidency may look like. McCain will quickly lay out in overlapping detail the root cause of the senator's worldview: his personal transformation from underachieving punk to war hawk uber-patriot, in which he used the "higher power" of American nationalism to save his life and soul.
As McCain wrenches himself inside-out in pursuit of the prize that eluded him in 2000, McCain will look behind the war hero, behind the maverick reformer. Journalist and pundit Matt Welch brings to this project an investigative eye and a coolly analytical mindset to provide Republicans, Democrats and Independents a picture of the man in full before they enter the voting booth in 2008.
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'If the world doesn't know who Republican presidential nominee John McCain is as yet, it certainly will do whatever happens in the US elections on 4th November. Welch, editor of Reason Magazine, has produced a sober-minded biography that uncovers the 71-year-old Arizona senator's political life and the beliefs that could soon make him the most powerful man in the world.' – The Big Issue
'How the journalistic elite got taken for a ride on the Straight Talk Express is one of the revelatory sagas of modern-day Washington. Matt Welch has the audacity to think that John McCain's views matter, not only his legends, and he smokes out McCain with gusto. You don't have to follow him every inch of the way into libertarian politics - as I do not - to be dazzled by the light he casts on a telling tragedy of American politics.' - Todd Gitlin, author of The Bulldozer and the Big Tent: Blind Republicans, Lame Democrats, and the Recovery of American Ideals
'John McCain's love affair with the news media is a decade old. But McCain makes clear that that love affair is over.' - Glenn Reynolds, author of An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths, and blogger at Instapundit
Praise for Matt Welch's Op-Ed piece on John McCain in the Los Angeles Times, "Do We Really Need Another T.R.?":
'I hope a lot of Americans read Matt Welch's definitive LAT editorial on the subject of McCain's political philosophy.... [I]t should be a reputation-maker for Welch.' - Colby Cosh, columnist for Canada's National Post
'Congratulations to the LAT's Matt Welch for this morning's penetrating column on John McCain....Listen up, pundits. Matt Welch has sent you a signal. It won't kill you to look into the mind of the desert angel and see what he thinks.' -Todd Gitlin, author of The Intellectuals and the Flag
'The redoubtable Matt Welch does the unconscionable today: he writes an op-ed for the LA Times in which he examines John McCain's actual views on the issues....Hear hear...[McCain's] flip-flops get a lot of attention mainly because they're easy to find and satisfying to point out. Actually looking past his occasionally 'maverick' views is far more important.' - Kevin Drum, The Washington Monthly
'Matt Welch of the Los Angeles Times does a significant public service in exposing John McCain's intrusive, statist agenda.' - Doug Bandow, author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire
'Kudos to Matt Welch for managing to reveal some truths about St. McCain without falling into the usual trap of trying to argue about where he actually fits on the imaginary political spectrum and instead just telling us what the dude thinks about things.' - Duncan Black, proprietor of the Eschaton (Atrios) blog
'[A]n astute analysis.' - Joel Connolly, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
'Great op-ed by Matt Welch on what John McCain actually thinks about the world.' - Matthew Yglesias, The American Prospect
'Matt Welch, now with the Los Angeles Times, perspicaciously sizes up everyone's favorite politician - especially given that no one seems to actually care about his political beliefs - Sen. John McCain. [...] [R]ead the whole thing, before this whole 'McCain for President' thing goes too far.' - Brian Dohery, Reason
The first skeptical bio of the presidential candidate and self-described maverick, John McCain
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