Tuesday, June 10, 2008

McCain's Mouth: An Occasional Senior Moment or Something More Serious?

[This post is an up-date of an earlier one I did on the subject. I have posted this version on Talking Points Memo.]

"Loose Lips Sink Ships": Does McCain 'Straight-Talk' Before He 'Straight-Thinks'?

"Straight Talk" generally has a rather positive connotation with most people. It's usually equated with Truth, an attribute rarely associated with politicians.

But when does "Straight Talk" cross the boundary and become "Shoot from the Hip" dumb talk?

McCain is coming perilously close to crossing that boundary. His foray into courting televangelists whose support McCain sought, obtained, and ultimately had to disavow is symptomatic of a person who speaks and acts before doing adequate research.

But the most disconcerting remark McCain has made lately came during his wistful State of the Union-2013 speech about a week ago. Therein he promised to subject himself, much as the British Prime Minister does, to regular questioning by members of Congress.

This off-hand remark disturbed me. The United States is not Great Britain. The US has 3 separate but equal branches of government. And with the sole exception of Gerald Ford testifying before Congress after the Nixon debacle, the president--EVERY president--has maintained the independence of that office from Congressional subjugation, whether for good or evil.

McCain, in one or two thoughtless sentences, could undo a Constitutional principle under which the country has operated throughout its history.

His recent displays include misidentifying Putin, the confusion he's evinced between Sunni al Qaeda and Shiite Iran, his denial of positive remarks he made about HRC in
a speech delivered only days or hours before....

Each individual falsehood and blunder is not earth-shaking news. But taken together, a pattern is emerging. It's a pattern of sloppiness of thought, ignorance or confusion, forgetfulness or lying.

It's not a pattern that serves well as a foundation for a presidential candidacy. It's out there for the voters to see and hear. The question is: When will this pattern reach the critical mass necessary to become a central issue in the campaign?

In short, I have deep concerns that McCain may lack the necessary judiciousness and commitment to staffing-through and/or thinking through his remarks prior to uttering them. Such a lack could be disastrous to the county's interests.

As a Navy man, John McCain learned long ago that, "loose lips sink ships;" they could just as easily sink a Presidential Campaign.

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