John McCain Rolls Over
by bored now, Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 05:02:33 AM EDT
It's 3am. The nation is in crisis. And John McCain just told the Situation Room to call back in the morning.
Maybe because he's so old. Maybe his brain doesn't work so well under stress. Or maybe he's completely out of his element. But the McCain campaign's blatent attempts to keep people from asking them questions is the same thing as telling us to call back in the morning.
How the hell can we expect him to take on Vladamir Putin? Or, hell, Nancy Pelosi?
John McCain's rush to the spot light -- presumably to take control of the negotiations on the current economic crisis -- led to a freeze in those negotiations. Instead of acting as a catalyst for a solution, his presence has literally interfered. John McCain contributed to a setback for the search for a solution.
But there is another way to look at this. John McCain had been a Monday through Friday candidate up until the convention. It's been a few weeks since the convention, and he's had to campaign full time since. 7 days a week. Very long days.
It is important to remember that John McCain has admitted that he's a better candidate when he's gotten "enough" sleep. I'd offer this possibility: that John McCain did not rush back to Washington, DC to solve a crisis, but instead to sleep in his own bed. The elephant in the room in this election is John McCain's age (and health -- McCain is a cancer survivor, and I'd concede the possibility that his cancer may contribute significant to this characteristic). As someone who is aging -- I learned in my recent trip to Florida that I don't surf as well as I used to! -- I can readily attest to the fact that my age is much more apparent to other people than it is to me. As self-aware as one tries to be, it's difficult to recognize the effects of aging on our abilities.
In McCain's case, it's not simply the limitations of aging but the shrinking opportunity to fulfill his ambition of being President.
As someone who has met and talked to John McCain, I suspect we should take McCain at his word that he needs his sleep. I don't think that McCain will show up tonight in Mississippi, but my wife (Mrs. Bored) disagrees. Regardless, I'd bet the decision won't be made until John McCain wakes up and decides whether he got enough sleep. It's easy to dismiss this possibility but dissenters should realize that this is not simply a characteristic of someone as old as John McCain. Candidates of all ages face this trait of political campaigns. John McCain simply seems to be more limited in this area than others.
As anyone who has studied politics or international relations knows, John F. Kennedy set the standard for crisis management in the Cuban Missile Crisis. For an intense week, the Kennedy White House pushed itself to find a solution to the Russian ships cruising towards Cuba. President Kennedy himself was under enormous stress. But the decisions he made under such stressful conditions are considered to be the very definition of presidential leadership.
John F. Kennedy was not John McCain's age when he managed the Cuban Missile Crisis. John F. Kennedy did not have John McCain's vaunted experience or record of "bipartisan" solutions. Kennedy (and Bill Clinton) was Barack Obama's age when he (they) faced their most difficult crises. For whatever reasons, this isn't a coincidence. Against our natural inclinations, Barack Obama seems better suited to be our next Commander in Chief. He doesn't seem to freeze in the face of a crisis (consider how he dealt with the Clinton "surge" in the primaries). He certainly wouldn't complain about the lack of sleep or stress involved in being Commander in Chief...