To put it as simply as possible, McCain — and his cohorts — are trying to score political points against the President in the midst of an international crisis. It is the sort of behavior that Republicans routinely call “unpatriotic” when Democrats are doing it. I would never question John McCain’s patriotism, no matter how misguided his sense of the country’s best interests sometimes seems. His behavior has nothing to do with love of country; it has everything to do with love of self.
I think that’s about right. But, I have to ask: how can you say that someone is selling his country down the river out of love for himself without questioning that person’s patriotism?
Update. Atrios has a good answer to this question:
[I]t’s because John McCain is a severe narcissist. He certainly doesn’t think he’s putting himself ahead of country, he’s just not really able to distinguish between the two.
That’s exactly it, I think. McCain’s self-aggrandizement isn’t cynical, it’s based on the belief that what’s good for John McCain is good for the United States. It’s the same way that all the flag pin stuff isn’t just political posturing, it’s based on an actual belief in the power of the Tinkerbell strategy.