Any voter who cares about public issues more or less knows who he’s voting for this year. The undecideds are mostly undecided about whether one of the two candidates, or both, has what it takes to be President. McCain is trying to paint Obama as an empty suit who would be lost in the Presidency, and also as dangerously foreign. He’ll have some success with that. But McCain’s personal weaknesses, long concealed behind the maverick/war hero myth he has so carefully cultivated, are starting to draw attention, even from his “base”: the national political press corps.
Here’s some of what Jack Cafferty had to say about McCain in a recent column. I’ve edited out a riff about McCain’s laziness compared to Bush’s, and part of Cafferty’s attack on Bush himself. I haven’t edited out anything favorable to McCain; there wasn’t a favorable word in it.
John McCain is as intellectually shallow as our current president.
[At Saddleback] McCain’s answers were shallow, simplistic, and trite. He showed the same intellectual curiosity that George Bush has — virtually none.
Where are John McCain’s writings exploring the vexing moral issues of our time? Where are his position papers setting forth his careful consideration of foreign policy, the welfare state, education, America’s moral responsibility in the world, etc., etc., etc.?
John McCain graduated 894th in a class of 899 at the Naval Academy at Annapolis. His father and grandfather were four star admirals in the Navy. Some have suggested that might have played a role in McCain being admitted. His academic record was awful. And it shows over and over again whenever McCain is called upon to think on his feet.
He no longer allows reporters unfettered access to him aboard the “Straight Talk Express” for a reason. He simply makes too many mistakes. Unless he’s reciting talking points or reading from notes or a TelePrompTer, John McCain is lost. He can drop bon mots at a bowling alley or diner — short glib responses that get a chuckle — but beyond that McCain gets in over his head very quickly.
I am sick and tired of the president of the United States embarrassing me … Bush goes bumbling along, grinning and spewing moronic one-liners, as though nobody understands what a colossal failure he has been. I fear to the depth of my being that John McCain is just like him.
When you read pundits’ musings about who has “won” or lost” the interlude between the primaries and the conventions, don’t forget one cost of the incredibly filthy and dishonest campaign McCain has run, especially the endless repetition of the false charge about Obama not wanting to visit wounded soldiers unless he could bring cameras with him: McCain has lost a big chunk of his goodwill among the people who cover politics. Even if they didn’t like his politics, most reporters liked him, and tended to protect him from his gaffes and to soft-pedal their criticism. That’s coming to an end, and McCain is going to be paying the price from now until Election Day.