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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Fans of maverick senator John McCain -- and even those who don't usually find themselves admiring Republicans -- will find much to admire in this astute political portrait by veteran journalist Elizabeth Drew. The focus here is on McCain's longtime attempts to enact campaign finance legislation -- an effort that, although unsuccessful at the time Drew was writing the book, eventually won congressional approval and was reluctantly signed into law by President George W. Bush in March 2002.
In many ways, John McCain isn't a "typical" Republican. He opposes many of the traditional GOP positions, supporting, for example, increased fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, hardly a common stance of those "on the right." He was a constant thorn in the side of then-candidate Bush during the 2000 presidential race and subsequently came out in favor of a comprehensive voting rights act designed to prevent the kind of dubious practices that contributed to the 2000 election debacle. In fact, his stances on major issues of the day have been so contrary to Republican orthodoxy that the Democrats briefly hoped he'd switch parties.
Despite the rumors of McCain's legendary temper, Drew finds him to be stoic and nearly always positive about getting it done, one of his saying being, "The future takes care of itself if you do your own work at the time." Though the events of September 11th effectively pushed all other issues off the table, McCain was convinced that it was just a matter of time before his reform efforts bore fruit. Drew's portrait of a determined, principled politician may have some Republican voters regretting their 2000 primary votes. (Nicholas Sinisi)
Nicholas Sinisi is the Barnes & Noble.com Current Events Editor.