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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Is McCain Stupid, A Liar, or Just Extremely Forgetful?

Harking back to my last blog, I ask whether it would be politically incorrect to discuss John McCain's age. The answer is probably, "Yes," though age per se doesn't tell us anything substantive about a candidate for President. Claims that someone is too young or too old to be President presupposes a truly idiotic use of statistics -- a claim to the effect that the average 35/72 year old male is too X to be President doesn't entail that any specific person aged 35/72 is too X to be President.

However, let's not let McCain off the hook this easily. Though I don't recall the issue ever being brought up before but whether or not a person's cognitive health and cognitive capacity and his stamina are sufficient to allow him to be a successful President is of very great importance. IMO, both Obama and McCain should be vetted by one or more panels of appropriate medical experts who are competent to diagnose how senile a 72 year old is or how much stamina he has. McCain's campaign might benefit greatly by a positive result. I know that my memory is not as good as it used to be and I am too years younger than McCain.

Perhaps the example or Reagan, who either was already in the clutches of Alzheimer's or engaged in selective memory (= some combination of lying and memory failures) when he testified under oath during a deposition in regard to Iran Contra shortly after his Presidency. The charitable view is that his brain was already damaged. I have a close relative (not a blood relative) who suffers from Alzheimer's (she's in her latish 80's) and the experience of visiting her terrifies me as to a possible fate for me or my wife or anyone else I know or any of you or McCain. She has a wonderful personality but can't remember much of anything, including especially things she has just said.

My concern about McCain derives from the extraordinary errors he is making. Any Presidential candidate who is worried about the situation on the Iraq-Pakistan border should immediately withdraw himself from the race. McCain has made clear that he is not Internet savvy, itself a troubling fact, and does not realize I think that everyone in the world with Internet access can fact check what he says, including contradictory claims made within a short period of time. Check out the contradictions on this YouTube bit, slices of real life on the John McCain Crooked Talk Express.

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9 Comments:

Blogger SusieQ said...

I am in favor of obtaining assurance from medical experts that Senator McCain is not senile and does not suffer with Alzheimer's. I would go along with that if for no other reason than to put the issue to rest.

Right now Obama supporters are having a big party with this. Many of them are claiming that McCain is senile or has advanced Alzheimer's. Some of them make this claim mockingly. What they usually provide as evidence are cases in which McCain said one thing when he meant another such as when he referred to the Iraq-Pakistan border but meant the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Obama supporters claim he does not know his geography and this is why he made the mistake. I don't buy that of course.

Yet, Obama supporters do not lift an eyebrow whenever their man makes similar mistakes. For instance when Obama was overseas he made the erroneous claim that the Senate Banking Committee was his committee. But he is not a member of that committee. He was talking about a bill at the time which had gone through that committee. What happened was Obama said one thing when he meant another. A few days later an Obama spokesperson explained that what Obama meant to say was that the bill he was talking about was his bill. He accidentally said committee instead. I accept that explanation, because we all do that from time to time, say one thing when we mean another.

Some could claim that McCain says one thing when he means another too many times and this should cause us to be concerned. Maybe so. I don't know. If McCain does have some mental or physical problem that would truly prevent him from fulfilling his duties as POTUS, then we should not elect him.

McCain was honest when he admitted that he was a computer illiterate. I have mixed feelings about that. But at least he was honest and told the truth. Telling the truth in this case doesn't appear to count for much though. Maybe McCain never had a strong need to learn how to use a computer. He has these aides, you know, at his disposal to do that for him and then there is his wife. But I understand that McCain is learning how to use the computer now. I am sure he is up to the task. It isn't difficult.

Obama is computer literate I understand. I hear he is always on his Blackberry text messaging everyone. This means, you know, that if he is elected he will keep running into door facings in the White House and be a hazard to himself. Just joking.

In closing, may I suggest that if we are going to have McCain tested for senility and so on that we go ahead and have all the old fogeys in Congress tested and all the old fogeys serving on the Supreme Court tested too.

5:46 PM

 
Blogger Thr Language Guy said...

Everyone misspeaks from time to time but those who are afflicted with ignorance or some linguistic deficit of some sort will do it much more frequently. It is, as you suggest, the frequency of such things that is a cue to a possible issue.

Being honest that you don't understand the internet and that you don't understand economics may get one credits in heaven but not in politics. We will next January have had 8 years of an ignorant President (though less ignorant now than earlier but we got into a war still with us due to Bush's ignorance). That is enough for me. No more.

6:56 AM

 
Blogger Kelly said...

McCain has already released years of medical records which show he is in remarkable health for someone his age.

In regards to your question of stamina, I think the fact of his campaign schedule is answer enough.

And in regards to senility or supposed inconsistency, Obama has said just as many seemingly contradictory things and/or changed his mind at least as often as McCain (I would assert it is more). You'll recall at least a couple things, I'm sure. He said he would use the public campaign finance system, then he decided not to. Also, he wants to be president of the 57 states. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpGH02DtIws

I'm not going to get into it any further than this, because I know you've made up your mind, and I know I've made up my mind, so further discussion would be fruitless.

9:08 AM

 
Blogger SusieQ said...

Kelly, I hope you come back and discuss this further.

*******

McCain is noted for his town hall meetings where he talks with little preparation or reliance on scripts and where he takes questions from voters and reporters. This approach makes a person susceptible to errors in speech. After I read your reply to me LG, I did a search to find out how many gaffes (times he has misspoken) McCain has to his credit to date. I could account for about a half dozen. I got this information from a left-leaning article where had there been more gaffes than this they would have surely been written up.

Given the number of town hall meetings McCain has conducted over the months and the number of other speeches he has given and the many times he has been interviewed, I have decided that a half dozen gaffes is not bad at all for anyone.

Honesty is important in politics. Being honest as McCain was about his lack of knowledge in certain cases (computers and economics) should count for a lot in politics. I do not expect a president to be an expert in every field. But I do expect a president to choose topnotch advisors who are experts in their fields.

David Axelrod is known in Chicago as the king of political consultants. He knows how to run a successful campaign. He is very good at his craft. He is Obama's chief strategist. As such he has been working for years creating the Obama personality. In fact the Obama campaign has been dubbed the Cult of Personality. It is a brilliant idea. "Hope and change." "Yes we can." We are the ones we've been waiting for." And so on.

The focus is on Obama himself. The issues take a back seat for the most part. This leaves people who are trying to learn about Obama's position in detail on the issues asking "Where's the beef?" Or in other words, where is the substance. I think that will come later after enough voters have fallen head over heels in love with this charismatic personality.

12:50 AM

 
Blogger Thr Language Guy said...

There are two issues here -- one is frequency of blunders and the other concerns the nature of the blunder. Neither candidate screws up enough to present us with a warning sign. But saying he is concerned about the Iraq-Pakistan border is troubling. It is possible to be so focused on Iraq that one just never thinks about the country that borders it. I don't want that kind of guy as President.

The real issue in any Presidential campaign IMO is what sorts of Supreme Court justices he will appoint. I do not want to see any Republican like Bush or McCain appointing anyone. Obama or most any other Democrat yes. President's can have a bigger influence through these appointments than anything else.

As for McCain's stamina, Kelly, I have heard that he has taken every weekend off. I found this source. I submit that he is too old to rigorously campaign 7 days a week like Obama and Hillary did. Perhaps he is saving himself.

7:38 AM

 
Blogger Kelly said...

Well, if court appointments are the biggest issue, I think hands-down McCain is the right choice. There is simply no question. I could go on and on about judicial philosophy, and how Scalia is the most principled judge out there, deciding cases (far more often than not) on sound judicial principles. He's also likely the most intelligent one on that particular bench. I'd much, much rather have another Scalia on the Court, if only to leave our republican-democracy intact rather than to put important questions in the hands of philosopher-kings. Also, I think McCain's voting record on SCOTUS appointments shows a strong understanding of what his role as a senator was to be--I cannot say the same for Obama.

5:08 PM

 
Blogger Kelly said...

Also, in response to the stamina question, I quote the following from your source: "That isn't to say McCain is kicking back and relaxing every weekend."

5:14 PM

 
Blogger SusieQ said...

McCain can't keep up the rigorous campaign schedule that Obama has been maintaining. I don't doubt that. But why should he be knocking himself out like Obama has been doing?

Obama often is burning the candle at both ends. I blame his campaign handlers for that. He seems to be showing signs of stress. I am beginning to worry about him. It looks to me like he has lost weight. When he was overseas he complained to an audience there that he was so tired he could go to sleep on the spot.

I see McCain as knowing how to pace himself. Thus the weekends at home where he continues to work on his campaign but perhaps in a more relaxed way. I don't see the signs of stress in McCain that I am picking up in Obama.

One day this past week at a town hall meeting, Obama had to deal with some hecklers from the Black community. Essentially they were accusing Obama of neglecting the Black community. As far as I know, that portion of the meeting in which he eventually allowed the hecklers to ask their questions in an orderly manner was never broadcasted on TV. I heard the audio portion of it on radio though. I can tell you that Obama had a difficult time answering them. He was flustered to the point of being practically tongue- tied. You could hear the stress in his voice when he tried to speak. I felt sorry for him. I really do not like to see any candidate brought to that point.

1:20 AM

 
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12:20 AM

 

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