The Senate's Real Leader: "But no one else in the negotiating group has McCain's national stature, and no one else is a likely presidential contender three years from now. So, while such would-be candidates as George Allen of Virginia and Sam Brownback of Kansas lined up behind Frist, McCain took the harder road and helped organize the bipartisan effort that averted the looming crisis.
He did that knowing he would incur the wrath of the conservative activists who want no barriers placed before their favorites for possible vacancies on the Supreme Court. But contrary to myth, the heroes of the far right rarely win presidential nominations -- as witness the fate of Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, Pat Buchanan and Pat Robertson, among others."
Interesting perspective on Mr. McCain as a presidential candidate. I also found the following of interest as it points to a potential explanation for the polarization we currently experience.
The Senate's Real Leader: "The success of the 'Gang of 14' was a rare and welcome triumph over the antagonisms that have been so deeply rooted in the political generation that came of age in the 1960s and 1970s, when the nation was torn by conflicts over civil rights, women's rights, abortion and, most of all, Vietnam.
Three of McCain's collaborators -- Warner, Byrd and Dan Inouye of Hawaii -- are of the World War II generation, a time of national consensus. Six of them are between 42 and 52, which means they were 16 or younger at the height of the anti-Vietnam protests. They are forerunners of a generation that may provide greater harmony in our politics as its members move into positions of leadership.
Only four of the negotiators -- Republicans Olympia Snowe and Mike DeWine, and Democrats Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson -- were of an age to have been swept up in the turmoil of Vietnam while in their twenties."