Thursday, September 18, 2008

McCain's Mental Deficit

Or, rather, is John McCain mentally prepared to be president of the United States.

Seems John-boy had some confusion while doing an interview with the Spanish El Pais (includes video). But that is just one of many recent gaffes.

McCain's embarrassing confusion is already pretty major news in Spain today, but at this point, the only major U.S. outlets who've picked up on this are the online sections of Time and the Washington Post.

Forgetting Zapetero's name is almost forgivable, though hard to explain for a candidate who claims to be an expert in foreign policy. But the interviewer kept using the word "Spain." She even gave him a big hint with the word "Europe."

Let's also not lose sight of the broader pattern. McCain thinks the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia was "the first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War." He thinks Iraq and Pakistan share a border. He believes Czechoslovakia is still a country. He's been confused about the difference between Sudan and Somalia. He's been confused about whether he wants more U.S. troops in Afghanistan, more NATO troops in Afghanistan, or both. He's been confused about how many U.S. troops are in Iraq. He's been confused about whether the U.S. can maintain a long-term presence in Iraq. He's been confused about Iran's relationship with al Qaeda. He's been confused about the difference between Sunni and Shi'ia. McCain, following a recent trip to Germany, even referred to "President Putin of Germany." All of this incoherence on his signature issue.

I'm curious. What do you suppose the reaction would be from the political establishment if Barack Obama had made these mistakes over the course of the campaign? What would reporters, pundits, and Republicans have to say about Obama's ability to lead a complex world in a time of war and uncertainty?

I think an intellectually honest person would agree that if Obama had made these same mistakes he'd be labeled "clueless" on foreign policy. So, why the double-standard?


Anonymous said...

"So, why the double-standard?"

Because he's old, white, and therefore infallible.

Tom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom said...

I think because of his long years in the Senate and because of his many, many years of being forthcoming and very competent with his straight-talk express and appearances on news-talk shows, established journalists grant McCain as having gravitas on international news issues.

Myself, I think that McCain would be competent as president in the International arena at understanding the issues and their complexity. When focussed on solving a single issue after being briefed by his staff and cabinet, I think McCain would be competent at arriving at an aggressive response to a situation.

McCain's militant mindset worries me, not the clear fact that he has gotten old and suffers from some memory snags.

Now that I am 54 I suffer from some forgetfulness. Many times I just cannot find a word I am looking for when writing or speaking. Or, I forget names of actors in movies I've seen; or, the band that performed a song I just heard. This kind of brain-clogged forgetfulness is something other than early-stage Alzheimer's (I think; I hope).