I remember once when my uncle offered to trade me cars. It was a generous offer, his was much better than mine, and as a teenager, I would have much preferred to be seen in a Fiero than an old Volkswagen Bug. My grandma, who somewhat brokered the deal, sternly told me, "When you exchange the keys, be sure you look him in the eye, shake his hand, and tell him thank you." My grandparents, who were working class conservatives (my grandfather was an Okie who had moved to California during the Depression), made sure that I knew what it mean to be a proper gentleman. One of those things was that you showed respect, not only to your superiors, but also to your peers and those who society may deem are below you. If a man was anything, he was the respect that he had earned and that he showed others. I must imagine that McCain had a similar upbringing being that he comes from a military family. (My grandfather was a Merchant Marine in WW2, and I served in the Army) To refuse a hand that is extended to you is a showing of complete disrespect. And in my opinion, it reveals to you the character of a man. And since McCain wants to make this presidential race partly an issue of character, it 's something we would do well to keep in mind.