Presidential Debate #2: McCain Myths Dispelled

I’ll use a different format this time. No point-by-point winners and losers. Obama won this battle. But what became clear in the process are that a number of myths regarding John McCain and his candidacy can now be dispelled.

Myth: McCain is stronger on foreign policy/terrorism.
He points out that Obama “was wrong on the surge.” Maybe. Maybe not. We haven’t actually won anything yet. Yet somehow he neglects to mention that he was wrong regarding the war in general also believed we could muddle through Afghanistan. What’s more, Obama will at least acknowledge that possibility that he was wrong concerning the surge. McCain? Wrong? Well, he sure isn’t going to admit it. Is that what strength is these days? The ability to put on the blinders and keep wading straight ahead no matter what awaits? Sounds like stubborness; foolishness. The exact sort of behavior that got us into Iraq to begin with. ‘So what if the evidence doesn’t say anything we say it does. We’re going in!’

McCain is only stronger on this front you really believe, looking around the world and the political, military, and economic turmoil that it’s in, that the current path has been successful. Obama says, “If we have bin Laden in our sights, and Pakistan won’t do anything, we will have to act and we will. We will kill bin Laden and crush Al-Qaeda.” Despite what John McCain might have wanted us to believe after the first debate, this is not a threat against Pakistan, an ultimatum, or even a breach in prudence. It is instead a measured statement of intent.

I don’t remember Ronald Reagan making threats either. Ronald Reagan described what would happen and then sought going about making it so. Ronald Reagan had vision. So does Barack Obama.

Myth: John McCain has vision; any vision. Or even a real ability to lead.
John McCain simply wants this job. He wants it even worse (and feels even more entitled to it) than even Hil did. Please submit responses below listing statements of vision or purpose that McCain has made during this campaign. I’d like to examine them. I’m fairly certain that they would instead prove to be statements of expediency. Statements of vague intent. Perhaps statements regarding tactics (but not strategies). Eventually even statements of desperation.

McCain cannot lead because it has become increasingly apparent that he is not truly bipartisan. His willingness to even cooperate is now open to question. At the same time, the sense grows that he’s one of those guys who’d be willing to burn the whole house down if that’s what it’d take to solve its bug problem. 

Risky? Dangerous? That’s not Obama. That’s this guy.  

Myth: McCain has an economic plan that will help this country.
Again, only if you believe the current path has been successful. His deficiencies in leadership, vision, and judgement also mitigate against this.

And finally, to move away from the man himself for a moment, and examine two of his bet policies…

Myth: We can drill our way to energy independence.
Fossil fuels and their domestic pursuit are only related to independence as a bridge to whatever comes next. Even if we produce every drop and molecule in every reservoir on US territory we will not gain energy independence. Our demand is simply too large. And yet, even as large as it is, we will also soon no longer set the marginal price. Demand in other parts of the world will eclipse ours and take over as the price driver.

The continued pursuit of domestic fossil fuels, particularly at the expense of any of the myriad alternatives, benefits only the companies pursuing them.

Myth: The Spending Freeze.
This is pure sound-bite fodder. It is impossible in any meaningful way, and it speaks to many of McCain’s qualities that he continues to propound it as a real idea/solution. He’ll say anything to get the job. He doesn’t actually have any plans. Or vision. He just wants you to trust him.

Once the military, entitlements, and payment on debt interest are added up — just these three categories, and surely these aren’t aspects of spending he was talking about freezing — there’s just not that much left.

But, heck, it sure does sound good, doesn’t it? “SPENDING FREEZE.” Well yeah, until you notice him saying out the other side of his face that he wants to buy up home mortgages. Wow. That freeze sure didn’t last long! Not to mention the idea of shrinking government, etc.

But that’s the problem. He doesn’t actually think any of this stuff through. He just wants the job, dammit. I can see him in the mirror now: “I deserve it!”

C’mon, you know he thinks that.

One thought on “Presidential Debate #2: McCain Myths Dispelled

  1. Superb job by Smitty in dissecting the substance of what was said.

    As far as delivery and appearance are concerned, Erica Jong nails it:

    “McCain looks old and ill to me. He seems to have no circulation under his papery white skin. He always looks like he is suppressing a fart. He has no cool at all. Even though he tried to correct his curmudgeonly reputation tonight, he was unconvincing. It seemed as if he had taken a Valium and it was wearing off. I wouldn’t trust him to look into Vladimir Putin’s eyes anymore than I trusted George W. Bush. He’s the bomb-bomb King, no question. Erratic and rageful, condescending and insincere, he seemed to be auditioning to play Simon Legree in an antebellum bodice ripper.

    And why did he run from the stage while Michelle Obama and Barack greeted the folks? Was he afraid of retribution? Or possibly a hair transplant?

    Or maybe I just mistrust men with comb-overs.”

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