I swear: the more John McCain speaks the more troubling I find the prospect of him as president. In the last few weeks look at what he's said: that Obama would willingly loose a war to become president, whihc is tantamount to calling him a traitor. He's become garbled and mixed up about the so called surge and Anbar awakening. He has suggested that Iraq and Pakistan share a border, for crying out loud!
His other campaign gaffes, like trying to upstage Mr. Obama's rally in Germany by eating at a beer-hall in the Germantown neighborhood of Columbus Ohio, and his trying to look presidential by riding in a golf cart with President Bush Senior, and his sad forray into a Pennsylvania supermarket, are all merely pathetic because they made him look pathetic and old. But this other stuff is disturbing.
His biggest advantage is his experience but his biggest handicap is his age, and everytime he gets in front of a camera he makes himself look like a confused angry old man. Is this the media trying to sabotage him? No. THe first three cases mentioned above were either statements he made himself to reporters. The second three were carefully staged media events. McCain used to look presidential when he waled in front of a camera. Not anymore.
He still gets a mostly free walk from a media that has spent the last ten years adoring him. He still goes on "The Daily Show" and "Saturday Night Live" to poke fun at himself. Liberals still respect him. He has faced very few tough questions this season. The one that comes most quickly to mind was one that once again made him look confused: a woman reporter asked him a few weeks ago if it was just that medical insurance would pay for Viagra but not for birth control pills. It's a valid if rather frivolous question, pointing up a double standard wherein it seems to be more ok for men to engage in recreational sex than for women to do so. It was probably even a setup, as asking McCain a question about Viagra must be designed to make him look old. But his response made him look older. He froze, stared blankly at the camera, and then said he had no idea what she was talking about.
I don't care if my president takes Viagra. I really don't. But I want my president--especially if he ran on his foreign policy credentials--to know where Pakistan is. Pakistan has two borders that are very important. They border Afganistan on one side and India on the ohter. The one is the greatest source of trouble for American troops in Afganistan, as the Taliban and Al Queda use it the way Pancho Villa used to, staging raids by going back and forth across it. The other is the world's most dangerous Nuclear flash point, a border between two nuclear powers in a constant state of aggression. It doens't border Iraq. (yes, I know, Mr. McCain was simply confusing Iraq and Afganistan--but that alone is cause for alarm).
It's not that Mr. McCain is old that I find most troubling. My Grandfather is 90 and I'd vote for him in a heart beat. My problem with McCain is that he increasingly looks confused.