Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Is McCain Mentally Fit for the Oval Office?

If it were just a misstatement or two, there would probably not be an issue here. But Republican presidential nominee John McCain, the supposed "expert" on foreign policy, has made a series of serious verbal blunders. On Good Morning America a few days ago he referred to the "Iraq-Pakistan border." There obviously is none so he must have meant the "Afghanistan-Pakistan border." On two different occasions last week he referred to Czechoslovakia, a country that has not existed since 1993. Several months ago, he got Sunnis and Shiites mixed up. On one occasion he identified Vladimir Putin as president of Germany. And, just last night in an interview with Katie Couric and CBS News, McCain mixed up the timeline related to the surge in Iraq, stating that the Sunni uprising in Anbar province was the result of the surge of American troops. Actually the Sunni uprising came before the addional troops even arrived in Iraq and most of them were sent to Bagdad not the Anbar province.

A few questions come to mind here. (1) Are these simple mistakes that anyone could make who is keeping the grueling schedule that a presidential candidate keeps? Perhaps so. But, could these mistakes also be a sign that senility is an issue with John McCain? We now know that Ronald Reagan was suffering from the early effects of Alzheimer's Disease during his last years as president. Is age an issue that voters should be concerned about?

(2) John McCain has staked his presidential aspirations on the argument that he is better suited for the presidency, indeed more knowledgeable in the area of foreign policy and therefore has what it takes to keep America safe from terrorists. Do these gaffes call that assumption into question? Perhaps not yet. However, the longer they continue, the more attention they will generate by the media.

(3) And speaking of the "media," the McCain campaign is complaining that the media is paying more attention to Obama than their candidate. Yet, these gaffes from McCain are not really getting very much attention in the media except on MSNBC and some liberal blogs. So, is there a double-standard here. The media is parsing every word Barack Obama says, particularly while he is overseas. But, it seems like McCain is getting away with these serious verbal blunders. So, who is truly the "media darling?"

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