Reading for Super Tuesday
It's nine years old, but Michael Lynch's Reason profile of John McCain still holds up.
McCain's friends, foes, and biography suggest a more complicated, but no less politically worrisome, explanation. For John McCain, principle is fundamentally about honor--personal honor: about keeping his word, about doing what is right and doing it well. "Principle" combines honesty, stubbornness, and loyalty. This notion of principle is very different from adhering to a consistent political philosophy. It explains McCain's popular appeal, especially in contrast to the exceptionally dishonorable Clinton administration, but also accounts for the distrust, even contempt, he inspires among the ideologically committed.
Read the whole thing.
And for those with more time, I recommend Matt Welch's book, which masterfully uses McCain's own writings and public statements to limn a not-so-attractive portrait of his personality.