It's 2012, and the NYT has discovered that John McCain is not a maverick
Jennifer Steinhauer article on A1: "Once a Rebel, McCain Now Walks the Party Line."
From the middle of the last decade, perhaps? No, this was today's A1.
There was a time when on some issues, McCain bucked his party. His signature bi-partisan achievement, campaign finance reform, came in 2002. Perhaps most notably, he voted against the Bush tax cuts -- one of only two Senate Republicans to do so in 2001, and one of three in 2003.
But within a few years of that, McCain was solidly to the right -- even toward the right end of Senate Republicans -- on nearly every issue (see Krugman's rundown from 2006). He was for the tax cuts he used to be against.
McCain did move further to the right for his 2010 reelection, as the article notes. But he already had been solidly in the deeply conservative part of his party.