What has happened to Irish American Senator John McCain, the man of principle, who stood up for what was right and to hell with the consequences?

Those of you who saw him on the Today Show yesterday will know what I mean.

Host Ann Curry asked him about the violence that is occurring around the country as fanatics target Democratic lawmakers who voted for the health care reform bill.

McCain's weasel words in reply, effectively saying there was nothing new in such tactics, do not fit the man who is a hero to so many Americans for his ability to speak truth to power.

The old John McCain would have spoken out directly against the acts that are being committed and would have insisted that everyone calm down.

But alas, with a tough vote in Arizona on his hands, where he is running against a Tea Party candidate in the primary, McCain it appears had to play the hardball angle every chance he gets.

What a pity for a man who had so much class that I even helped run a fundraiser for him two years ago because of his support on immigration reform.

Back then an impassioned McCain spoke powerfully about what it was like to find out that desperate immigrants, some of them young babies, had died of thirst trying to cross the border from Mexico and how he was committed to doing something about it.

The new McCain is an impostor I'm sure and if he wins his seat back let's hope we see the old McCain. U.S. politics badly needs him.

Perhaps he could take a lead from his daughter Meghan McCain,who made clear her feelings on Tom Tancredo, keynote speaker at the recent Tea Party convention who made several downright racist comments during his speech about Latinos.

“It’s innate racism, and I think it’s why young people are turned off by this movement,” McCain charged of Tancredo’s remarks. “Revolutions start with young people, not with 65-year-old people talking about literacy tests and people who can’t say the word vote in English. It’s ridiculous.”

That's the kind of McCain we need