23 September 2008

George Will Critiques John McCain

Who would have thought it? Conservative columnist George F. Will has Senator McCain in his sights. Today's Will special critiques McCain's kneejerk reactions to the Wall Street crisis, especially in declaring that, as president, he would have dismissed SEC Chairman Chris Cox, a man who, according to Senator McCain, "betrayed the public's trust." This reaction illustrates both Senator McCain's misunderstanding how Wall Street functions as well as his world view. According to Will, the incident, "is a harbinger of a McCain presidency. For McCain, politics is always operatic, pitting people who agree with him against those who are "corrupt" or "betray the public's trust," two categories that seem to be exhaustive -- there are no other people." In other words, once again the GOP has offered up a candidate who sees the world in simple dialectical terms: there is no middle ground, no shades of grey.

In a compelling conclusion, Will considers the effect of McCain's temperament on his possible administration of the executive office:

Conservatives who insist that electing McCain is crucial usually start, and increasingly end, by saying he would make excellent judicial selections. But the more one sees of his impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either.

It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?

A valid, and invaluable, question. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed? Are we willing to elect another president who sees the world in dualistic terms and who acts on impulse rather then after the full consideration of all aspects of an issue--whether that issue is of economic or military concern?

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