McCain moves further and further away from ‘maverick’ identity.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) During the presidential campaign and throughout his political career, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was regularly described in the media as a “maverick” — despite the fact that he was “a reliable conservative, and if not a perfectly loyal Republican, at least a reasonably loyal one.” Now, CQ reports that according to his 2009 voting record, McCain is clearly a “maverick no more”:

In fact, McCain is siding with his party this year on closely divided votes with greater frequency than at any other period in his 23-year Senate career, according to a CQ analysis of Senate votes.

On votes that pitted most Democrats against most Republicans, McCain has sided with the consensus GOP position 95.4 percent of the time, a CQ-defined “party unity” score that would be the highest of his Senate career if it holds up for the remainder of the year. He had a 95.2 percent party unity score in 1996, when Republicans held the Senate majority at the end of President Bill Clinton’s first term.

McCain’s year-to-date 2009 party unity score is the 14th highest among the 40 Republican senators. It’s even higher than that of the Senate’s top two Republicans, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky (94.0 percent) and Minority Whip Jon Kyl , also of Arizona (94.5 percent).

Days after the President Obama’s inauguration, the Washington Post published an article declaring, the “Senate Gets Reacquainted With McCain the Maverick.” Apparently, they spoke too soon.