Post-Vacation Political Musings on McCain
The best part of my vacation, as exemplified in the ‘drunken leprechauns’ video below, was just hanging out and having a great time with my family. I’m very fortunate in that regard; there’s nothing but love between myself all my family (including almost all of my in-laws), and we get on despite differences in philosophy (i.e. religion) and politics.
My Arizona relatives, for example, are long-time active John McCain supporters, having been involved since he was running for Congress. Heck, back then I thought he was a better-than-average breed of politico, and given the ‘quality’ of the background level I was probably justified. They still think he’s the bee’s knees, though, and I couldn’t disagree more.
What I look for in a politician is threefold: compatibility with my socio-economic goals, the skills and character to achieve them (insofar as is possible), and enough personal integrity to allow me to trust them to do so. It’s really hard to find the trifecta in a politician; the process of climbing the political ladder does seem to be corrosive of the latter, particularly.
John McCain may have had some of these qualities in the past, but the candidate I see now fails on at least two of the three counts.
My brother thinks of McCain as a moderate, and while he once appeared that way to me as well, it’s hard, now, to apply the word to someone who seems intent upon wholly assuming the policies of George W. Bush. It’s amusing, in a sickening way, to hear McCain rattle on about “the failed policies of the past” in reference to the Democratic candidates, while at the same time pushing to permanently adopt the supply-side economic policies of Reagan and the Bushes, which have demonstrably failed to a degree literally unprecedented in American history, and continuing to cheerlead for the war in Iraq, arguably the worst ever American foreign policy fiasco – no mean feat, considering competition from our misadventures in Southeast Asia.
Much of the problem there seems to lie in a weakness which McCain shares with W: an inability or unwillingness, to get his facts straight. I’m not referring simply to things like confusion about who runs which major foreign powers , problematic as such stumblings are in a potential President, but a deeper problem with being unable to evaluate what constitutes strong evidence for an hypothesis.
Of course, everyone makes mistakes, and the preceding examples aren’t evidence of McCain’s judgement being radically impaired by a preference for ideology over evidence. Luckinly, McCain has provided much more vivid exemplars of that: dramatic increases in American debt with every supply-sider Administration doesn’t support the idea that it works, and needing a bulletproof vest, 10 armored Humvees, 100 rifle-bearing soldiers, 3 Blackhawk attack helicopters and 2 Apache helicopter gunships for a 1 hour stroll though an Iraqi marketplace doesn’t support the idea that it is safe.
Siince I disagree so strongly with the main planks of his platform (I haven’t even mentioned his opposition to national health care, or his wish to adulterate science education) it’s probably moot that I consider him to be lacking in personal integrity too, but this is the saddest part, because I think he did have some once. I’ll address that in a follow-up post, though, as I have non-blog stuff to get on with.