That was the nickname given to John McCain at another time in his life. For some, the nickname was a reference to his explosive temper. For others, it reflected his pugnacious temperament when pushing his ideas forward. Whatever the reason, it clearly defines a person not afraid of standing up to adversity. It also speaks to a determination that may not always be pleasant for those in his way.

Recent polls indicate momentum in favour of Barack Obama, but John McCain has nonetheless made this a very competitive race. It would be imprudent to conclude it is already over. Remember, McCain has a way of coming back. A year ago, he was hurtling towards political oblivion; his campaign was in disarray and most observers concluded that it was a matter of time before he would quit the race. But the fiery, never-give-up war hero rebounded. This blog has said all along that McCain was a viable candidate and was potentially the most difficult opponent for any Democrat to face. Just three weeks ago, he was leading in the polls and there were grumblings about whether Obama could recover and close the deal.

The Palin choice, however, has shown the impulsive side of McCain. While it was promising at first, it has since shifted the ‘doubt’ factor away from Obama and toward McCain. The perceived incompetence of Palin has made voters focus on McCain’s age and health. I had always believed that no matter what happened, the appeal of McCain would remain intact. His courage, his perseverance, and his character would prevail even if the campaign got heated and he was facing defeat. I was wrong.

The McNasty side of McCain has led him to character assassination as a campaign tactic. Granted, Obama has not been reluctant to use negative advertising and raise questions about McCain’s character. But McCain has gone the extra mile, pushing negative to the level of despicable. Even the most die-hard McCain supporters—aside from the social conservative base of the Republican party—are ill at ease with the tone he used at the recent debate and on the campaign trail. Unfortunately, we can expect even more underhanded attacks against Obama before the race is over. We are a long way from the noble campaigner that McCain was in 2000 when he ran against George W. Bush. It is sad that McNasty has finally prevailed over McCain.

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