Tuesday, August 19, 2008

He Said It: McCain = Bush

You’ve gotta love CNN commentator Jack Cafferty. Reflecting on John “100 Years War” McCain’s constipated appearance with Senator Barack Obama at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, Cafferty writes:
It occurs to me that John McCain is as intellectually shallow as our current president. When asked what his Christian faith means to him, his answer was a one-liner. “It means I’m saved and forgiven.” Great scholars have wrestled with the meaning of faith for centuries. McCain then retold a story we’ve all heard a hundred times about a guard in Vietnam drawing a cross in the sand.

Asked about his greatest moral failure, he cited his first marriage, which ended in divorce. While saying it was his greatest moral failing, he offered nothing in the way of explanation. Why not?

Throughout the evening, McCain chose to recite portions of his stump speech as answers to the questions he was being asked. Why? He has lived 71 years. Surely he has some thoughts on what it all means that go beyond canned answers culled from the same speech he delivers every day.

He was asked “if evil exists.” His response was to repeat for the umpteenth time that Osama bin Laden is a bad man and he will pursue him to “the gates of hell.” That was it.

He was asked to define rich. After trying to dodge the question--his wife is worth a reported $100 million--he finally said he thought an income of $5 million was rich.

One after another, McCain’s answers were shallow, simplistic, and trite. He showed the same intellectual curiosity that George Bush has--virtually none. ...

John McCain graduated 894th in a class of 899 at the Naval Academy at Annapolis. His father and grandfather were four star admirals in the Navy. Some have suggested that might have played a role in McCain being admitted. His academic record was awful. And it shows over and over again whenever McCain is called upon to think on his feet.

He no longer allows reporters unfettered access to him aboard the “Straight Talk Express” for a reason. He simply makes too many mistakes. Unless he’s reciting talking points or reading from notes or a TelePrompTer, John McCain is lost. He can drop bon mots at a bowling alley or diner--short glib responses that get a chuckle, but beyond that McCain gets in over his head very quickly.

I am sick and tired of the president of the United States embarrassing me. The world we live in is too complex to entrust it to someone else whose idea of intellectual curiosity and grasp of foreign policy issues is to tell us he can look into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and see into his soul.

George Bush’s record as a student, military man, businessman and leader of the free world is one of constant failure. And the part that troubles me most is he seems content with himself.

He will leave office with the country $10 trillion in debt, fighting two wars, our international reputation in shambles, our government cloaked in secrecy and suspicion that his entire presidency has been a litany of broken laws and promises, our citizens’ faith in our own country ripped to shreds. Yet Bush goes bumbling along, grinning and spewing moronic one-liners, as though nobody understands what a colossal failure he has been.

I fear to the depth of my being that John McCain is just like him.
I am particularly fond of Cafferty’s line, “I am sick and tired of the president of the United States embarrassing me.” Those of us who expect more thoughtfulness, honesty, and intellectual fervor from our chief executives have lived for the last seven-plus years frustrated with Bush’s manifest incompetence. There’s nothing in Senator Small’s behavior on the stump--his persistent prevarications, his ridiculous insistence that having been a POW is a qualification for leadership, his failure to articulate consistent opinions on even matters about which he supposedly holds deep convictions, his childish fits of anger--that suggests he’s any more capable of bringing dignity to the Oval Office than Bush has done. It’s the hope of seeing an intellectually fit person in the White House again that gives Barack Obama part of his appeal.

McCain is just a much older, meaner, and more sexist George W. Bush. Haven’t the nation’s economy, pride, and standing in the world suffered enough under one Republican dimwit? Obama gets my vote, if for no other reason than that he seems capable of looking beyond easy answers, simplistic slogans, and rote, poll-tested responses.

READ MORE:It’s a Three-Man Race: Obama vs. the Two McCains,” by Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post); “The Candidate We Still Don’t Know,” by Frank Rich (The New York Times).

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