It’s a conservative reputation rehab attempt for John McCain in Atlantic Monthly alert.

In case anyone was wondering, McCain’s maverick stylings make him Edmund Burke with a great rib recipe. McCain is totally blameless for every scandal and GOP failure for the last 20-plus years of his public political life, and we ought to bow at his feet and anoint them with oil. Or something.

(Stop laughing.)

Jonathon Rauch seems to fervently believe this: You guys! It’s the second coming of Edmund Burke!!! ZOMIGAWD! Worship his incrementalism!!!!!

Or maybe…just maybe…McCain’s just a hypocritical oaf, with a staff and rash of supporters stuffed to the gills with lobbyists and big money special interests who want to ride that Sweet Talk Express gravy train all the way to Lining My Own Pockets Town.

And with a compliant media in tow still picking at the rib bones? That’s one smoooooooth ride. To wit:

McCain voted against Bush’s big tax cuts, but now says he supports extending them rather than risking damage to the economy. Flip-flop? Not if you believe, as Burkeans often do, that sudden and large policy changes deserve skepticism, but that when a policy becomes well established and woven into everyday life, as the tax cuts have, continuity should get the benefit of the doubt.

In the face of resistance from Bush and his own party, McCain fought heroically for a law restraining harsh treatment of terror-war detainees, yet more recently he voted against legislation imposing on the Central Intelligence Agency the same stringent ban on coercive interrogation that the U.S. Army observes. Hypocrisy? Not if you believe that brutal interrogation methods should be illegal, but that holding the CIA to the military’s white-glove constraints, even in emergencies, goes too far the other way.

…To movement conservatives, McCain represented heresy. But to the conservative movement, he represented a return to home truth.

Good lord, what a bunch of self-serving, indulgent hooey.