His actions of late have forced me to wonder about this. I had a grandparent who did suffer from a form of non-Alzheimer's dementia that slowly progressed from mild to very very devastating.
The events over the last few weeks have led me to think that is a outside possibility. John McCain has developed a rather undeserved repetition as a political maverick. Some claim it is because he often ignored his party and did what he thought was right. This view doesn't really stand up to close review, his record this decade is far closer to one of party toady than maverick.
The other trait that McCain possessed that may have led him to develop this reputation is his habit of what might be called forceful truthfulness. He tended to call them as he saw them, a style seldom seen in DC. He was often blunt, truthful, and generally seen as being fairly sharp in his criticism.
He is still blunt, but his command of facts seems to have slipped. He repeatedly had to be corrected when he confused the Shiite, Sunni and Al Qaeda alignment. At a recent appearance it appears that he thought our troop levels in Iraq had already dropped below pre-surge levels, it isn't even close. The while making a brutally bad speech in Keener, he claimed he supported every investigation into the government's response to hurricane Katrina, when he had in-fact voted against about every post hurricane bill, including investigations.
McCain's lies and misstatements are so obvious it make you wonder how he could make them. Does he think no one will notice as he makes things up, does he not care about the truth, does he think such overt factual errors will be ignored, or could it simply be that his mind is slipping a little.
I saw this happen once, a small mis-recollection here, a fact that just could not be remembered there. I can not help but wonder could that be the case with McCain. I know, I know, he did allow a brief review of his medical history. But, at this point in my grandmothers decline, she had not yet been diagnosed, heck, only in hindsight did these early signs mean anything.
But when a man who claims expertise in Iraq can not keep the key players straight in his mind; When a man who aggressively pushed for more troops to be deployed forgets that they are still deployed; When a man claims to have supported bills he in fact voted against, you have to wonder. Is he stupid, a bad liar, or if the person is of a certain age, could his mind be slipping a little?