Megan McArdle edition.
Here's the thing: I dislike McCain on an intense, visceral level. I don't trust him with power. I find his personality brutish and unkind, his jokes about various women grotesque, and his political philosophy hopelessly addled. The ad he let his campaign run about Obama's sex-ed program was, as one journalistic acquaintance puts it, "beyond tawdry". I find National Greatness conservatism deeply troubling, and the idea that society would be better if it were more like the military alarming. I honor the military virtues--in the military. I do not think that America would be a better or nobler place if we were a leetle more like Sparta.
And while I am deeply grateful, and impressed, by McCain's suffering as a POW, I do not think that this makes me obligated to like him, or to vote for him. There's no admissions process to be a POW, and it stands to reason that some of them must have been people who weren't particularly admirable. The more I learn about McCain, the more I think that he's one of them. Or rather, I think of him like that kind of jerkily sexist 22-year-old of whom one thinks, "he's going to be a really good guy when he grows up". And I wish he would. But when he turned 70, I sort of lost hope.
Beyond that, I think the Republican Party is moribund. Its long tenure has made it corrupt, and depleted its stock of ideas. It has gotten too cosy with the bureaucracy and the lobbyists, and lost touch with its first principles. I do not think that this is some feature of conservatism--indeed, it reminds me quite a bit of the House under Tip O'Neil. But I think the party needs a time out to think about things.