Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What's going on with McCain?

For those of you paying close attention, you may have noticed the most bizarre series of events this week, events that seriously call into question McCain's mental abilities, not to mention his qualifications for president.

We all know that McCain's "signature issue" is national security. What, exactly, he did to become an expert in national security, no one can say exactly. (It wouldn't be his legislative record.) But the media has largely bought the argument that McCain is a national security expert who knows what's up in Iraq and other places about the world. That narrative, of course, becomes complicated when he forgets small details like the difference between Sunnis and Shiites, but to date, those little things haven't hurt him much.

This week, however, McCain bizarrely stated that a 16 month timetable for an Iraqi withdrawal would be acceptable to him if commanders on the ground approved. The, ONE DAY LATER, he adamantly refused and rejected a question about his "new" timetable position. He was combative and arrogant and angry at the very question, so much so that the rather puny weakling asking him the question backed off and let it slide.

So, imagine the surprise when ONE DAY LATER, McCain restates that a 16-month timetable for withdrawal would be acceptable if approved by commanders on the ground. This flip-flop is in addition to flip-flops on Affirmative Action, Gay Adoption, and on Raising taxes. He also seems to forget that mere weeks before Obama took an international trip, McCain himself went across the pond to conduct a quasi-legal fundraiser.

I think that we, as voters, have to be seriously concerned about the possibility of electing a president with a tendency to either outright lie or with early Alzheimer's. Because there is no real alternative explanation that makes any sense. Either McCain is becoming increasingly desperate, willing to say anything while sacrificing his dignity in the process to become president or he has a serious memory problem, a problem which suggests he should be disqualified for the presidency. I don't think I have to remind you that we've been down this road before. It resulted in Iran-Contra. And now the stakes are almost higher. Facing the problems we face - a failing economy, crumbling infrastructure, a never ending housing/banking crisis, a shrinking middle class, a foreign quagmire, losing the war in Afghanistan, and a problematic reputation, to name a few - one has to seriously wonder if electing a 72 year old with a history of skin cancer (new lesion removed yesterday) and a tendency to forget important things (either willfully or not) is a good idea. The question of Vice-President has never been so important, has it?

This is not to suggest that Obama is a panacea. He's not. And I have some very serious concerns I'll be detailing shortly. And, I confess, I would vote for him 100 times out of 100 (I have donated $55 to his campaign). But for those still wavering with their lifetime allegiances to the Republican party, reluctant to cross party lines just this once, I have to suggest that given the circumstances, Obama is the ONLY choice. Or to put it slightly more aggressively, is it sensible to put the most difficult job in the world at one of the most difficult moments in the recent history of our country in the hands of a doddering 72-year old with a history of health problems, an anger management problem, and who has a tendency to still use the word "gook" in reference to the Vietnamese?



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