I agree that this is an interesting — even absorbing — piece, and I have two quick comments.
1) Strange that a Teddy White book (in effect) should have been published before the election.
2) Draper writes, “. . . in McCain’s first run for the presidency, ‘true character’ was the one thing the Vietnam hero and campaign-finance-reform crusader seemed to have going for him . . . Bush had everything else, and he buried McCain.”
Um, Bush had character too, like it or not — and a lot of us liked it. For example, his conquest of drinking, which is no easy thing. His mid-life turnaround.
In any case, McCain has gobs of character, which counted in the 2000 race, as now — but he had not cornered the market.