S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

On McCain Watch

Presidential candidate, Senator John McCain bears watching. His behavior seems increasingly questionable for a potential leader. Recent news items come to mind, such as the one about the McCain Meltdown* from the Des Moines Register, and Frank Rich's New York Times Op-Ed column (9/27/08), "McCain's Suspension bridge to nowhere#." To quote:
The question is why would a man who forever advertises his own honor toy so selfishly with our national interest at a time of crisis. I’ll leave any physiological explanations to gerontologists — if they can get hold of his complete medical records — and any armchair psychoanalysis to the sundry McCain press acolytes who have sorrowfully tried to rationalize his erratic behavior this year. The other answers, all putting politics first, can be found by examining the 24 hours before he decided to “suspend” campaigning and swoop down on the Capitol to save America from the Sunnis or the Shia, or whoever perpetrated all those credit-default swaps.

There was no suspension of his campaign. His surrogates and ads remained on television. Huffington Post bloggers, working the phones, couldn’t find a single McCain campaign office that had gone on hiatus. This “suspension” ruse was an exact replay of McCain’s self-righteous “suspension” of the G.O.P. convention as Hurricane Gustav arrived on Labor Day. “We will put aside our political hats and put on our American hats,” he declared then, solemnly pledging that conventioneers would help those in need. But as anyone in the Twin Cities could see, the assembled put on their party hats instead, piling into the lobbyists’ bacchanals earlier than scheduled, albeit on the down-low.

. . . It’s that utter power vacuum that gave McCain the opening to pull his potentially catastrophic display of economic “leadership” last week. He may be the first presidential candidate in our history to risk wrecking the country even before being voted into the Oval Office.
"Is there a psychological explanation for John McCain’s recent behavior?" This was a fascinating article in the Democratic Strategist on a possible psychological diagnosis for John McCain. HT also to betmo for this link and post in Roger Ebert's column. To quote:

You made a TV commercial showing the moments Obama agreed with you.
Everybody knows he did. Did his agreement show honesty, or weakness?
It is significant that you said it proved he was not ready to lead.
What is the better leadership quality: (1) Willingness to listen to your opponent, and keep an open mind? (2) Rigidly ignoring him? Which of the two of you better demonstrated the bipartisan spirit you say you represent? Was there anything he said that you agreed with? Could you have brought yourself to say so?

I'm not the only one who noticed your odd, hostile behavior. Just about everybody did. I'm sure many of your supporters must have sensed the tension. Before the debate, pundits were wondering if you might explode in a display of your famous temper. I think we saw that happen, all right, but it was an implosion. I have instructed my wife to exclude you from any future dinner parties.

A few nuts and bolts of the presidential campaign also bear watching:
  • McCain and Obama's ads are equally negative, according to Neilsen's, the raters.
  • The states that have been the recipients of the most negative advertising are Ohio and Michigan.
  • McCain's fate hangs on three states, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin or Minnesota.
  • From Congressional Quarterly (9/25): Hillary Clinton voters say McCain would do a better job than Obama on terrorism by a narrow 32 percent to 25 percent, AP reports."
Homeland Security -- This from my CQ Behind the Lines newsletter is a very good reminder of scary possibilities for bad stuff to happen as a result of erratic behavior by a president:

Poly-tics: “One of the most remarkable aspects of this campaign has been how little attention has been focused on homeland security,” Julian Zelizer writes for The History Network, suggesting pertinent questions for Friday’s debate. “What Americans often fail to comprehend is that the [post-9/11] powers amassed by President Bush will not expire when he leaves office. They will be available to future presidents to use — and abuse,” John Whitehead explores in American Chronicle. “What we want to do is try to describe what the world will look like to the new president and consider how each candidate is likely to respond to the world,” Stratfor’s George Friedman writes in the first of four parts posted by Global Oracle. “Are we fighting a real war against Islamist terrorist regimes and movements . . . Or is terrorism just a criminal justice problem?” Clifford D. May poses in The Minneapolis Star Tribune as one of several key questions for candidates.

A few more tidbits -- These additional leads come from CQ Behind the Lines (9/23/08) --To quote:

DHS has not talked to either the Democratic or Republican campaigns for president regarding the homeland transition next January, drawing the ire of top members of Congress, Homeland Security Today’s Mickey McCarter mentions.
. . . Poly-ticks: “A majority of Americans think the United States isn’t winning the war on terrorism, a perception that could undermine a key Republican strength,” a McClatchy Newspapers poll finds. Like other voters, Arab Americans’ “deep dissatisfaction” with the Bush administration’s performance has prompted a shift from the GOP and toward the Dems, pollster James Zogby writes in Abu Dhabi’s The National.

Watch what those who should be supporters are saying about the candidate. For example, A Colorado Evangelical leader, Richard Cizik, has criticized John McCain for lack of principle# regarding climate change. And I conclude with this paragraph that perfectly summarizes my post's points. To quote Mitchell Bard# at The Huffington Post,

The 2008 election is about which candidate's view of governing America you want to buy into. McCain and Palin have demonstrated, through their behavior, that they will govern like Bush, not just in their policy beliefs, but, like Bush, with a greater interest in political gain than serving the American people. If you enjoyed living with the consequences of Bush's philosophy of government, then you'll love four years under the boots of McCain and Palin.

Reference: "A Visual Guide to the Nominees' Speeches," by Dan Nguyen at ProPublica.

Hat Tip Key: Regular contributors of links to leads are "betmo*" and Jon#.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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