The new, angry McCain: Is the “maverick” gone for good?

Last year, when McCain thought he may have had a primary fight in J.D. Hayworth, observers blamed his newly conservative positions on the need to win the primary and expected the maverick McCain to come back once that battle was successfully waged. One close friend, who requested anonymity to speak openly, said McCain’s triumphant win was supposed to heal some of the wounds from his loss to Obama. “Certainly everyone’s hope is that it would be cathartic. Take your anger out on this punching bag and then come back, but he hasn’t,” the friend said, referring to Hayworth. “It’s based on having lost in 2008 and then conducting himself in a way that he doesn’t like. He’s not someone who likes to close himself off from the media, issue positions that I don’t believe he believes in order to get reelected in the Senate, and I think he’s angry about that, on top of anger from 2008.”

David Berman, a political science professor at Arizona State University and a longtime McCain observer, said the senator cannot let go on issues like DADT and START because of lingering resentment about Obama’s win. “He has been on a tear to make Obama look less than favorable, to put it mildly, and I think he is a little bit bitter about the election,” he said. “I think he is a very proud man, he was very upset he didn’t do better, and resents this young man with very little experience beat him in the last election…He doesn’t think of Obama as someone qualified to be commander in chief.”