Watching John McCain in last night's Republican debate, I saw a man who appears to have entered the early stages of dementia. Regardless of the question posed, Sen. McCain's rambling and frequently incoherent responses demonstrated an inability to focus on any matter beyond his self-aggrandizing pretensions of being smarter, wiser, and more patriotic than his opponents.
One side of McCain's brain seems stuck in the 1960's and some timeworn dream of personal glory, the other in 2000 and the wrongs inflicted on him by George W. Bush. He adds little to the national discussion on America’s future other than revelations of his own internal dialogue, which appears to mix past honor with present confusion, leaving little room for future solutions.
To Captain McCain, the world is, and always will be, a battlefield. He will "never surrender, they will" - and his definition of "they" is broad enough to land a fleet of fighter jets. In his mind only, he, of all the presidential candidates, knows how to lead people into battle. He must seethe at the very thought of Bush the avoider (Viet Nam) becoming Bush the decider (Iraq), then prancing in his bomber's drag across the deck of an aircraft carrier, an unearned display that should have been McCain's own "Mission Accomplished" shuffle. Instead, the also-ran of 2000 is left to grovel before his political nemesis, trying with all his might to convince the Republican Party that a real warrior deserves to become the country's commander in chief.
Despite his claims of brilliance on matters of foreign policy and national security - claims based on the personal experiences of his admirable military career, his imprisonment in Viet Nam, and his longevity in Washington - McCain’s belligerency would lead to unforeseen, unnecessary and counterproductive wars based on the same faulty logic that drove the country into Iraq and keeps us there. Two generations ago, the worldview to which he still clings led to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths in Viet Nam - even after the end result was predictable. Had his discredited philosophy prevailed indefinitely - say, "for 100 years" - he probably would have died in a Viet Cong prison. Experience may count, but experience grounded in a half century of mistakes and irrational thinking does not make a person ready to lead a free people: it makes for a life of mistakes and irrational thinking.
Last night McCain sat within arm's reach of Mitt Romney and lied through his teeth about comments never made by Romney - all the while claiming to be a man of principle and "straight talk." This man is Richard Nixon without the peace sign, Dick Cheney without the wit, Zell Miller without the spitballs. My friends, John McCain is a man who should never be allowed to command the world's greatest military power, his ancient heart thumping to the drumbeat of war, one hand fondling the nuclear trigger and the other caressing Joe Lieberman's wish list of future conquests.
As much as I oppose the policy proposals of Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, I'll take their extremism over McCain's mania. The fact that so many Republican voters are willing to gamble the nation’s future on this unstable cold warrior is a frightening development in American politics.
Others watched the debate and saw a man to lead the free world: I saw a man who belongs in a Republican retirement center, fading into a Captain Peacock character - an old know-it-all strutting around the hot tub in his skivvies, living on cocktail olives and Viagara, reciting past glories to anyone within earshot - and always winning the battles still waging in his own skull.
Captain Peacock: Mrs. Slocombe, you will return to your post. When I turn around, you will raise your arm. I will ask, "What is it, Mrs. Slocombe?" You will ask me, "Are you free?" If I nod, you may then approach me.
"Doctors said sexually transmitted diseases among senior citizens are running rampant at a popular Central Florida retirement community, according to a Local 6 news report. A gynecologist at The Villages community [a Republican bastion] near Orlando, Fla., said she treats more cases of herpes and the human papilloma virus in the retirement community than she did in the city of Miami." - The Villages idiot: Bush 'the greatest president we've ever had'