Saturday, September 27, 2008

Conservative Columnist George Will Questions McCain's Suitability For Presidency

Following John McCain's statement that he would fire Chris Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, due to turmoil in the financial industry, conservative columnist George Will questioned whether he had the temperament to be president in his column, "McCain Loses His Head" (9/23/08). Will also states that the faults he perceives in Obama can be "corrected," while doubting that McCain's temperament can "be fixed."

From the column:

Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama.

Channeling his inner Queen of Hearts, John McCain furiously, and apparently without even looking around at facts, said Chris Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, should be decapitated. This childish reflex provoked the Wall Street Journal to editorialize that "McCain untethered" -- disconnected from knowledge and principle -- had made a "false and deeply unfair" attack on Cox that was "unpresidential" and demonstrated that McCain "doesn't understand what's happening on Wall Street any better than Barack Obama does."

To read the Journal's details about the depths of McCain's shallowness on the subject of Cox's chairmanship, see "McCain's Scapegoat" (Sept. 19). Then consider McCain's characteristic accusation that Cox "has betrayed the public's trust."

...McCain's smear -- that Cox "betrayed the public's trust" -- 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...

...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?


To read the entire column, click here.

McCain, by the way, is ill-informed about the relation between the president and the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, an independent regulatory agency whose chairman can't be fired by the president.

McCain's erratic temperament is also evident in his rash pick of the radically unqualified Sarah Palin as a running mate and his pointless "campaign suspension" stunt. Those looking for a steady temperament in a prospective president would be well advised to support Barack Obama.

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