Heterodox Views on Politics and Public Policy from Michael Blaine

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

McCain The Fraudster

Featuring John McCain As "Shyster"

The "Los Angeles Times" revealed today that presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has been collecting a tax-free disability pension from the US Navy that in 2007 totaled $58,358. Only two conclusions can be drawn: If McCain is (psychologically?) disabled, he's not fit to be president. If he is not disabled, he's been defrauding the federal government for decades and should be criminally prosecuted. Either way, McCain's candidacy needs to end immediately.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Alcoholic and the Torture Victim


A diverse country of 300 million people, continental in scale, the United States is full of talented individuals. So why was a dullard like George W. Bush put in the White House? A man who challenged the nation with such penetrating questions as, "Is our children learning?" A man who assured us, "I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family." A man who told Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, "Germany is important." A man who declared to President Lula, "Wow! Brazil is big." That remains a mystery. But some day, with the benefit of hindsight, our country may come to realize, as Bush himself once observed, "people that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history."
Fortunately, 2008 brings a new opportunity to select a national leader. Will Americans seek a person with the innate intelligence and cultivated wisdom to do the job properly? The Republicans think not. Their candidate, John Sidney McCain III, graduated from college with a class rank of 894 out of 899 students. This confirms, in spades, the reason McCain comes across as so lackluster and uninformative in his public remarks: he simply is not very smart.

Lack of intelligence in the White House impedes good policymaking, as has been amply demonstrated by George W. Bush. But what about other obvious warning signs in a presidential candidate? In my view, it always was clear that nobody who was an active alcoholic until age 40, as Bush was, should be voted into the presidency. It is welcome news whenever a problem drinker gives up the bottle, but that does not mean that the ex-drinker should go on to lead the entire nation. Clearly, decades of inebriation is poor preparation for such a task.

In McCain's case, his status as someone who was tortured during the Vietnam War gives great pause. How terrible that any human being is ever abused, and how difficult the recovery from such a harrowing experience must be. But McCain's five years in a POW camp, and the torture he endured there, are hardly solid preparation for taking the helm of the United States of America. America desperately needs a smart, steady hand in Washington. Any presidential candidate whose resume features a black hole in the middle, no matter how unfortunately come by, should be turned away. Let those wrestling with awful ghosts do so far from the halls of power.