Here's my take on McCain:
Post Keating 5, he was probably the most admirable politician in my memory, and I've followed politics closely my whole life. In the early 90's I read a short story about his POW experience in a book of vignettes called "Everything We Had". It's a powerful book; not just his story, but a collection of stories from different perspectives of soldiers, nurses and others who were in that war. Check it out.
Anyway - After that, I kept my eye on McCain and cheered for him as he tried to institute campaign finance reform. He was obviously more willing to engage in bipartisanship governing than the vast majority of democrats and republicans. I said to myself, "if that guy ever runs for President, I'm voting for him." Then he got butchered in the primaries by Bush, and I voted Gore. I'm pretty sure I would have voted McCain, even though I've been a Democrat my whole life. Probably would have come down to his running mate; but it would have been less of an issue at 64 than it is now at 72.
It's clear to me that Bush's handlers told McCain, "Sorry we had to destroy you. It's not your turn. You behave like a good boy and fall in line with W., next time it'll be your turn." And he just took it. When he supported those tax cuts, it was clear that he was bought and sold by Bush's people. The final straw was his complete collapse at picking McCain. The guy sold out his principles, and I'm pissed that he did because I really respected him.
If he's elected, my hope is that he turns his back immediately on the NeoCons. As in, 'thanks for getting me this far, now go fuck yourself'. And then he reverts back the McCain of the 90's. I suppose it's possible, but there are two factors that prevent me from voting for him.
1. He sold himself too far down the river. His unwavering support for extending and expanding the Bush Tax Cuts will bankrupt the country. And his attachment to the NeoCons & the Religious Far Right is inextricable.
2. He's likely on borrowed time in terms of his health, and that put Palin in the POTUS seat and that's unacceptable.