Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
McCain: The Myth of a Maverick

McCain: The Myth of a Maverick

Matt Welch

St. Martin's Press



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.


Praise for McCain: The Myth of a Maverick

“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

“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, on "Do We Really Need Another T.R.?" from the Los Angeles Times

“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, on "Do We Really Need Another T.R.?" from the Los Angeles Times

“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, on "Do We Really Need Another T.R.?" from the Los Angeles Times

“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, on "Do We Really Need Another T.R.?" from the Los Angeles Times

“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, on "Do We Really Need Another T.R.?" from the Los Angeles Times

“[A]n astute analysis.” —Joel Connolly, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, on "Do We Really Need Another T.R.?" from the Los Angeles Times

“Great op-ed by Matt Welch on what John McCain actually thinks about the world.” —Matthew Yglesias, The American Prospect, on "Do We Really Need Another T.R.?" from the Los Angeles Times

“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, on "Do We Really Need Another T.R.?" from the Los Angeles Times

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Matt Welch

Matt Welch is the Assistant Editorial Pages Editor of the Los Angeles Times. From 2002 to 2005 he was an Associate Editor at Reason magazine, where he wrote a regular column and he was the American politics columnist for Canada's National Post from 2001 to 2004. His work has appeared in such politically diverse outlets as, the American Spectator, AlterNet, the Orange County Register, and the Columbia Journalism Review. Welch also maintains a popular weblog at He lives in Los Angeles.

Matt Welch

Matt Welch

Matt Welch at Reason Magazine

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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