BizPunkMitch Lasky's blog

6. He’s a pugilist, not a leader. He has thrived as a “maverick” by challenging from outside the centers of power. He pokes powerful and cynical politicians in the eye. He’s an insurgent. But, like Castro or Robert Mugabe, insurgents can get kind of deranged when they win. I don’t think he knows how to lead. I think he knows how to resist. It’s the legacy of his captivity, perhaps.

5. He’s a Cold War relic. Look at his recent saber-rattling rhetoric on Georgia. He called it “the first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War.” Er, 9/11 wasn’t serious? The rise of modern China wasn’t serious? His old-school fear of Soviet Russia is going to get us committed to extending the NATO umbrella to all these idiotic places that are really not in our strategic purview. Like Georgia. I mean, I comprehend the strategic rationale for the expenditure of blood and treasure in Iraq way before I get the rationale for the Caucasus. We’ve got bigger problems than Russia’s mischief along its southern border — how about a nuclear Pakistan becoming a nearly failed state, a beehive of lunatic Islam and reactionary tribalism? This man’s world view was formed at the height of US-Soviet tensions. I don’t believe his instincts are relevant or helpful to solving modern global problems.

4. He is kind of dumb and doesn’t appear to have a strong commitment to excellence. Finished 894th out of the 899 students in his class at the U.S. Naval Academy — which, while a fine school, is probably top 100 academically rather than top 10 (a recent survey put it at #79). His application to the War College was rejected, and he only managed to gain acceptance through the intercession of his family (see reason #3, below).  He stumbled like a bumpkin into the savings and loan scandals. He surrounds himself with mediocre people. And he’s horrible when speaking impromptu — vis the “how many houses?” gaffe. He starts every sentence with “My friends …” and ends every sentence with his mouth contorted in a rictus of yellowed dentures. It’s creepy.

3. He is dishonest about his personal history. This guy is Johnny Nepotism — his daddy and granddaddy were Navy admirals, who made sure he followed in the family trade. The reason his captivity in Vietnam got all the attention and infusion of symbolic meaning that it did was because his father orchestrated it, brought the press into the story. There were many heroic POWs in Vietnam but somehow McCain became the poster boy for defiant resistance. He came back, fucked over his first wife, caroused around like a frat boy, found a rich, vapid second wife, and — shocker! — had her beer distributor father bankroll his political career. He’s the opposite of self-made.

2. He’s out of touch with America. Oh, he’s in touch with those flag-wavers at the VFW, and all the pathetic conservatives who have been looking for a replacement father-figure after Ronald Reagan died. But the real America, the one with massive debt problems, an energy crisis, an innovation economy based on the internet, bad public education and health care — he doesn’t know fuck all about that America. I don’t know about you, but I don’t live in the flag waving VFW America. And I suspect you don’t either.

1. He is simply too old. Think about it for a moment, he’ll be 72 when he’s sworn in. I recognize that the aged have much to contribute to American society. But have you had any recent contact with a 72 year old man? No offense, but if you were looking for a CEO for a troubled company that was facing a tough economy and increased foreign competition, you would not be recruiting a man in his 70’s. I’ve heard this boomer propaganda for decades about 50 being the new 40, and 60 being the new 50. But 70 is the old 70. The brain slows down. The thought processes get cemented in place. The energy levels drop. Against the backdrop and demands of a 21st century presidency — in an era of 24 hour news cycles and globalization — I will say it categorically right now: McCain is too old to be president.

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