John McCain Wants To Be Loved Again

John McCain, who loves switching personalities, is trying to reclaim his bipartisan Maverick hero image in the media again, now that he's secured another Senate term. And he'll get it. He always does! It's just too easy for him.

Last we heard about John McCain, he was singlehandedly delaying the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" repeal by either making things up or insulting military leaders. It was an appropriate way to finish his Senate role as the 111th Congress' most prominent Useless Grump.

But that was then, more than one month ago. He wants to go to media parties again, and some minor personality changes are in order. It won't take much effort — no matter how definitively the elite pundit class swore him off following his "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" behavior. Because he's due for another upswing in the soap opera media narrative that is his life. It's already begun, in fact. Time published a piece today titled, "After Marching Rightward, the Maverick McCain May Be Back." The rest will just run its course from here:

Barack Obama and John McCain have seen and spoken more to each other in the last two weeks than in the last four years. The two connected at the memorial in Tucson about the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, but also about common legislative ground moving forward. McCain sat in one of the front rows at the State of the Union and he even made a rare White House appearance the day before at an event for military families. And they've had two follow-up conversations on legislation, including one in person happening Wednesday at the White House.

Friends and colleagues say they have noticed a marked change in McCain...

In the ten or twenty lengthy magazine stories last year about how McCain had "lost his way" or what have you, friends and colleagues said they had noticed a marked change in McCain then, too, but in the opposite direction. This is how you get on Sunday morning talk shows every week even when you're not involved in any of the relevant issues, folks: Always be markedly changing, on the move either up or down the slopes of a permanent and marketable narrative. Use "McCain has lost his last shred of integrity" during the off-season and "the Mac is back" when play resumes.

So, is the redoubtable maverick back? One longtime McCain watcher thinks so. "It appears Mac is back on track to be a player of significance and importance on the center stage of American politics," notes his old friend and adviser Mark McKinnon of the 74-year-old Arizona senator. "The Lion in winter is starting to roar."

We'd say "SLOW DOWN!" but there's really no use. These McCain stock phrases are more entrenched in Washington culture than any special interest will ever be.

[Image via AP]