There has been an interesting chain of events in the last few days involving John McCain’s actions during the financial bailout negotiations and his performance in the presidential debate, which gives us an insight into not only John McCain the man, but what we might expect from a President McCain.
The picture it paints is not an appealing one. It is that of a condescending, angry, borderline hostile, disrespectful man, and an indecisive and detached leader.
First Sen. McCain allegedly suspended his campaign to return to Washington, D.C. to take a leading role in the bailout negotiations. Then when he attended the meeting of Congressional leaders, along with Barack Obama, at the White House, he sat silently and offered no solutions, refusing to either endorse either the Paulson plan or the alternative put forth by the House Republicans.
In fact, when asked directly by Obama whether or not he supported either plan, McCain did not respond. Washington Monthly offers these 2 possible explanations for McCain’s silence:
“It seems to me there are two possible explanations for McCain’s silence. One possibility is that this was an extension of what we saw last night(at the debate) — he believes his rivals are beneath him, and he has nothing but contempt for those who question him, so he refused to engage in a policy discussion.
The other is that McCain had no idea what the grown-ups were talking about, didn’t understand what the insurance alternative was, and knew he’d humiliate himself he tried to engage in a substantive dialog with a room full of people who knew vastly more than he did.”
The first scenario would explain McCain’s hostility toward Barack Obama during Friday night’s debate. Obama put McCain on the spot during the meeting and McCain took that as a personal attack, as he does with anyone who disagrees with him. I don’t know about you, but that is not a personality trait I find desirable in a president.
Finally, as an agreement on the bailout was being reached, where was Senator McCain? Was he showing his leadership and exercising his supposed superior judgement, about which he frequently boasts? No, he was dining at a posh Washington, D.C. hotel with Cindy and Mr. and Mrs. Lieberman.
In contrast, Barack Obama took a leading role in the bailout negotiations, offering opinions as well as solutions, and then went on in the debate to take on, and by all but the most partisan accounts, defeat McCain on his own turf–foreign policy. Obama displayed a well-informed, well thought out, grasp of the issues, and treated McCain with respect, even agreeing with him on several points.
Now those are qualities I do find desirable in a president.