McCain — Indifferent or incompetent?

I was listening to the Charles Goyette Show this morning on KFNX. He was interviewing a writer for The New Republic, and the discussion was centered around John McCain and his candidacy for the Presidency. Goyette opened the discussion up to the audience by asking people to share their personal stories about McCain. I called in and shared what follows, in quite a bit less detail.

I don’t know McCain, and have never met him. I saw him two times that I can remember. The first was in 2000 when he ran against Bush. He showed up at the U of A down in Tucson for a rally. I went just to see. I have never been on McCain’s bandwagon. The second time I saw him was when I did the P.F. Chang Rock-n-Roll half-marathon. McCain was given the honor of firing the starting gun. He stood on this podium above the crowd. From my vantage point both times I could pick him out only because of his white hair.

However, I do write my politicians when I have something on my mind. I have written several times to McCain over the years, as well as to other politicos. (I hesitate to call them leaders, because I don’t like the idea of where they might be leading us.)

My McCain-anecdote amounts to this. He has never acknowledged in any way, shape, or form that he has received any form of communication from me. I have written letters and emails. I have also phoned his office at least once to express my opinion on a pending piece of legislation.

Why is this strange? Well, I would respond by asking if you have ever written to a person in public office. My experience has been that almost always, a response is usually given to a letter. It seems to be standard behavior. The average behavior of politicians is to have form letters with some bullshit standard verbiage. Something like, “Thank you for your recent correspondence. We appreciate your input and will take your views into consideration when acting on such-and-such an issue.” This is what I would consider to be grade ‘C’ responsiveness to your constituency.

The best responsiveness I have ever experienced is from Jon Kyl‘s office. I have written several times by letter and email. Usually I have written in anger over Iraq and the manner in which Republicans of the last eight years have been running interference while the Bush machine is screwing this country royally. So, my letters have ranged from polite, to churlish, to sarcastic. But, Kyl has earned my respect for being responsive in this sense. His office always replies in a respectful manner and incorporates my points in the response. His office spends the time to explain his policy decisions. I definitely have been given the impression that my correspondence is being read, and registers at some level with Kyl. It hasn’t changed his voting record. But, he is at least responding to me as though I am being represented by him. I give him an ‘A’.

McCain’s office, however, is a black hole. My correspondence goes in and nothing comes out. I don’t know whether it is due to his indifference or his incompetence. In my mind it falls into one of those two categories. Either he doesn’t care about what his constituents think. Or, he is such a bad manager that he has never bothered to set up a process for responding to the public.

Either way, it doesn’t recommend him in any way to be the President. That is an office that requires some real management skills. It also requires that the person holding the office recognizes the public as his or her constituency.

McCain’s complete failure to follow up on correspondence from the people he represents demonstrates to me that he won’t be any better than Bush. Both McCain and Bush lack management skills. And both men have shown a disregard for the opinions and desires of the people they claim to represent.

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6 Responses

  1. I used to think that McCains place at the bottom of his class was no indication of his intellegence.

    The fact that his father and grandfather were 4 star admirals and he has a hot temper have given him some credibility as a warrior perhaps and a leg up.

    There is much evidence that his war hero status is exagerrated, he collaborated with his North Vietnamese captors and that he lacks understanding of Iraq politics and economics.

    His superstitiuousness and compulsive gambling does not give him much gravitas in my eyes.

  2. I don’t question McCain’s war-hero status. I agree he is hot-tempered, from various accounts I have read. He does seem to lack a clear grasp of economic principles.

    I have not heard, until you mentioned it, about his superstitiousness and compulsive gambling. I’ll have to look that information up.

    Thanks.

  3. Thaddeus

    McCain flew 23 combat missions over Vietnam. The average Air force pilot flew about 100. Many naval pilots flew over 300.

    McCains service was certainly honorable and commendable but I question his hero status unless you consider everyone who put their lives on the line in Nam.

    McCain got into and through the Naval Academy and flight school because he had a father and grandfather were four star admirals. He lost a total of 5 planes at least 3 of which were probably his own fault.

    Put that together with his place at the bottom of his class at the USNA , his superstitiousness and his temper and I do not see McCain as the person that I would like to see in the Presidency.

    John Mccain is anther version of GW Bush.
    Both men had very smart, multitalented successful fathers and grandfathers. Both men got into and through prestigious universities as legacies. Both men had advantages that many would kill for.

    George W. Bush’ talent has been to lose gracefully with style and aplomb. At Yale he was the go-to guy to hang out with for his more cerebral classmates when they wanted to rest heir intellectual neurons. He was a drifter with a drinking problem until he was 40. He failed gracefully in a succession of businesses until the Neocons propped him up as their front and got him into the largely ceremonial post of Texas Governor.

    McCains nickname in high school was “McNasty”. His belligerance gave him the image as a warrior and served him well in the Navy and in Congress.Belligerant people who can make “nice-nice” can do well. McCain’s father was an admiral and his mother was a wealthy oil heiress. She was known as the “Auntie Mame of the Navy”.

    Neither GW Bush nor McCain is stupid but neither of them is very cerebral.. McCain was more energetic than Bush and a credible jock in his younger days. McCain’ s bluster and Bush’s likeable cheerleader image are their main stocks in trade respectively.

    Both of them were born on third base but strut around as if they had hit triples.

  4. Just to be fair to McCain, you said he had only 23 combat missions. It’s hard to have more when you are sitting in a prison camp.

    But, your point is well taken. I do think there are a lot of similarities between Bush and McCain.

  5. Thaddeus

    Being in a POW camp is a perfect excuse for not making more than 23 combat missions. i agree with that.

    My question is on what basis does McCain qualify as a war hero? Is it because he spent
    5 1/2 years as a POW ?

    As far as I know, there was nothing heroic in his combat missions.

    AND even if ,indeed, McCain were a bona fide war hero, like Pappy Boyington for example, would that mean that he was qualified to be President ?

  6. Sheesh. are we talking about a candidate for a popularity contest or for president? I don’t care if the president was a hero. What I care about is his stance on the important issues. I consider McCain’s own assessment of his understanding of economics as being poor to immediately put him out of the running. We have a serious economic problem in this nation and I want the president to have a very good understanding of economics. That’s why I voted for Ron Paul, the only candidate who actually gets it. The problem in the US is the Federal Reserve and its position as controller of monetary policy, a role that is much better served by the federal government itself. After all, this is what the framers had in mind and in fact they would be puking green vomit if they were here today witnessing the massive inflation created by the fed. I highly suggest that anyone planning on voting read Ron Paul’s recent book: The Revolution – A Manifesto.

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