John McCain, mensch

He doesn’t want to run the kind of campaign Mark Halperin has planned out for him.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the next time the RBC has anything nice to say about John McCain, but today McCain reminded the country that there really is an admirable character hidden somewhere under all those layers of political posturing and bushwa.

Some right-wing radio blatherer, introducing McCain in Cincinnati, started doing the stuff that Mark Halperin advocated/predicted. And McCain landed on him, hard: not, admittedly, in the speech he made following that introduction, but talking to reporters afterwards.

“Whatever suggestion was made that was in any way disparaging to the integrity, character, honesty of either Sen. Obama or Sen. Clinton was wrong and I condemn it,” McCain said. “I will take responsibility and I apologize for it.”

Pressed by reporters, McCain said he will “make sure nothing like that ever happens again” and said “I absolutely repudiate such comments.”

Good for him! When’s the last time a Republican took responsibility for anything? And note this was really taking responsibility, not just saying it: McCain committed to “make sure nothing like that ever happens again.” I hope the press holds him to that commitment.

Update Wait! It gets better. Rob Portman, allegedly one of the grown-ups in the Republican Party and reportedly a potential McCain running-mate, had nothing but nice things to say about the wingnut (named Bill Cunningham).

Willie, you’re out of control again. So, what else is new? But we love him. But I’ve got to tell you, Bill Cunningham lending his voice to this campaign is extremely important.

(The “out of control again” fits oddly with Portman’s later claim that he hadn’t heard Cunningham’s remarks.)

No, wait! It gets even better than that! Cunningham is so angry at McCain that he now says he’s endorsing Hillary.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: