A reader homes in on what we are learning about John McCain:

I'm poring back in memory, over all the touchstones of McCain's recent public life, and it's all starting to make sense: his "stands" on tobacco litigation, campaign finance, immigration, taxes, even (briefly) torture. All ultimately about a self-dramatist creating a drama at which he is the center.

All failed efforts, but one now sees that success or failure - or principle - was not at all the point, ever. Who cares about those things when you get to be at the center of a great drama?

So now, as with canceling the first night of his own convention (over a storm, incidentally, that inconvenienced no one), he is lurching from one dramatic centerpiece to the next, trying to upset the metrics of this election, trying to recapture that old magic. In a moment when calm is called for, he sets his hair afire.

I know these tendencies a little too well: I'm like McCain in some ways. But that's why I decided I wasn't cut out for electoral politics.

(Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty.)


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