Saturday, August 30, 2008

McCain's judgment, experience and temperament

John McCain's choice of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate either surprised, confounded or delighted voters depending on their political leanings.

After thinking about his choice for a day I've come to the conclusion that his choice reveals so much about his judgment and the judgment he would exercise if he is elected president.

Obama and McCain have been running for the office for almost two years. Most voters by now have formulated opinions on both men.

But here comes John McCain, with a little over two months before the election, foisting an unknown, unqualified and untested woman on the American electorate.

His pick of Palin is both demeaning and disrespectful to his supporters in general and his female supporters in particular. Does he actually believe that intelligent women will vote for a candidate for the second highest office in the land just because she's a woman?

And Palin yesterday, also displayed some of that same disrespect for women with a dash of Republican hypocrisy, by linking herself with Hillary Clinton and the "18 million cracks in the glass ceiling." Sisters-in-arms don't ya know!

However Palin, earlier this year characterized Hillary as a "whiner."

Paul Begala, political consultant for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992 and a counselor to Clinton in the White House also raises the issue of McCain's judgment in this commentary written for CNN and posted yesterday.
"For a man who is 72 years old and has had four bouts with cancer to have chosen someone so completely unqualified to become president is shockingly irresponsible. Suddenly, McCain's age and health become central issues in the campaign, as does his judgment.

"For months, the McCainiacs have said they will run on his judgment and experience. In his first presidential decision, John McCain has shown that he is willing to endanger his country, potentially leaving it in the hands of someone who simply has no business being a heartbeat away from the most powerful, complicated, difficult job in human history."

Begala elaborated last night on Larry King Live.

Begala argues that McCain has picked an untested woman he'd only met once before offering her the job.
"The more I think about it, the more shocked I am. Larry, I'm a dad. Here's why. I'm a dad. You're a dad. Most of the people on this panel are parents. There's a moment when you have to sit down, in my case with my wife and our lawyer, and we wrote a will, because now we have to be responsible for those children if, god forbid, we die. Does anyone plausible believe that after one meeting, John and Cindy McCain would trust Sarah and whatever his name is Palin them to raise their daughter if they were to die. Of course not.

"You wouldn't hand that responsibility over to somebody you had only met once. He is now entrusting the fate of 300 million families, 300 million people, not to mention three million people in the armed services, to her based on one meeting. It's astonishingly reckless. I know he wants the political pop from it. I guess that's his calculation. But there's no reasonable, responsible person who would make a decision that consequential on so little personal knowledge."

Begala mentioned McCain's four bouts with cancer but I'll take it a step further.

Watching McCain over the past two years, it's obvious to even the most casual observer that his behavior at times is .... well, quirky.

You won't find anything in the mainstream media about this but I have serious doubts that John McCain, if elected, would be able to complete a full first term.

That's why his pick for vice president was so important. In that respect McCain has failed a major test.

And that should be enough to frighten anyone.

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