John McCain: The dazed and confused candidate for President

August 7, 2008 | By | 9 Replies More

The TPM video that appears below introduces John McCain, admittedly not at his public-speaking best. The main question is not whether McCain misspeaks, however. Many highly competent people lack polished public speaking skills. Even though they often stumble while speaking, though, highly competent people ultimately display their high degree of competence. It might take a bit longer and their message might not always come out smoothly, but they eventually, even when they are nervously standing at a podium, display that they know what they are talking about. They eventually show that they are well-informed and that their minds are clicking. At their own pace, all competent people (whether or not they are polished speakers) are able to show their audiences that they can assimilate new facts and come to well-reasoned and creative solutions.

Conversely, competent people, even those who don’t excel at public speaking, don’t look uninformed and incoherent while talking in public. There is a huge difference, then, between A) not being an accomplished public speaker and B) displaying that one is uninformed and incoherent. The video below shows far more than John McCain’s lack of polished public speaking skills. Rather, it shows that he is uninformed and incoherent.

John McCain has only rarely sounded informed or coherent during this campaign. We cannot afford to elect as President a man who so rarely sounds informed or coherent. What kind of leader he would make? Can you imagine such a man trying to lead important meetings every day? Can you imagine putting the country into the hands of a man who has such trouble processing small dribbles of information when running the country requires processing such a flow of new information that is akin to trying to take a drink out of a fire hydrant? McCain drowns in small puddles of information.

Here’s my take: The Republicans don’t care much, as long as McCain is still breathing. If elected, McCain would be basically serving as a mascot for the same invisible team of people currently (mis)running the country.

This set of video excerpts is not a low blow, in my opinion. It is evidence that John McCain does not have the cognitive capacity necessary to run this country. We’ve already had eight years of cognitive incapacity and we can’t afford any more of this, given the massive looming issues with which we need to deal (e.g., energy, the economy, national security).


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Category: Communication, ignorance, Politics, Psychology Cognition

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (9)

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  1. Oh. My. God… This is scary. I've never seen him talk before and this is shocking. He is senile and this is not meant as an insult. I wonder who his advisers are, he must be very deluded. Running for president is a very very bad idea.

    "I will veto any beer, uh, bill"

    "very cool inhumane organisation"

  2. Dan Klarmann says:

    We cannot afford to elect as President a man who so rarely sounds informed or coherent. What kind of leader he would make?

    Can you say, "Four More Years"?

  3. Gabe Smith says:

    Erich, based on what I have seen for myself on television and the posts that you and others have written about the two candidates, I think this should be one of the most lop-sided elections in U.S. History. Based on what we know now, Obama is one of the best candidates for President that we have ever had. Everything he says seems well thought-out, he is highly intelligent, and he has excellent plans for our country. McCain, on the other hand, is a confused old man, who, if elected, will merely be a defective puppet for those same people who are currently ruining our country. Although I think this election should be lop-sided, I do not think it will end up that way. If McCain is elected, it will show just how crooked the American political system is, and will also show that race relations have not progressed as far as most of us thought. I will seriously consider moving to Canada if McCain is elected.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Gabe: I think the American way of life is going to change dramatically in the next decade no matter who is elected. One option is that we can continue the current trend toward an invisible privately owned corporately controlled government where the people are increasingly seen as widgets for the wealthy. On the other hand, we can take the Constitution seriously. The first option, which will occur if McCain is elected involves a top-down style of government where the people are kept in the dark and no one looks out for the long-term needs of the country.

    In order to plan for the long term needs of real people, a leader must be well-informed and empathetic. Only one of the candidates is well-informed and empathetic. The other candidate, McCain, has already shown himself to be a live-for-the-day pawn of the oil industry (and many other industries).

    In short, I agree with what you've written and I feel your fear.

  5. I'm not sure if calling McCain unempathetic is fair. He has gone through a lot for his country. Nevertheless, he is too old and he displays a certain insecurity, he is very anxious to be liked. If you believe the stories that must have been different when he was younger.

  6. Erich Vieth says:

    Here's what I mean by not empathetic. Imagine placing blank sheets of paper in front of McCain and Obama. They don't get the use of their handlers and consultants. Ask them to describe the concerns of a group of people who are not like them, for instance, middle class Americans, hourly workers, immigrants or truck drivers. Tell them to each describe what concerns, motivates, inspires and aggravates those other types of people. I don't think that McCain has much of a clue. Maybe he did when he was younger, but he seems to be in a narrowly circumscribed cognitively stale little world that is not reliant on evidence to update it.

    I'm not saying that McCain won't sometimes try to empathize. Rather, I don't think he retains the cognitive capacity to really get into the heads of people unlike him (the wealthy elite). Based on numerous comments Obama has made, I believe that he is deeply tuned in to the needs and concerns of people from many walks of life.

  7. grumpypilgrim says:

    As projektleiterin suggests, McCain was better up until about 18 months ago. That's when he threw out his maverick personality and swallowed-whole virtually every major Republican talking point. It's what he needed to do to win the Republican nomination, but he clearly sold his soul to do it.

  8. grumpypilgrim says:

    Something else I've noticed about McCain: have you noticed how nearly all of his ads talk about what he has (supposedly) done in the past, while Obama's ads tend to talk about what he wants to do in the future? I suppose each is trying to play to his own strengths, but I'm really surprised by how backward-looking McCain seems to be. Moreover, the few times he does mention the future, he never mentions any real details, nor does he explain why his past experience has almost no connection to his claimed future goals. He comes across as just some old guy focused on his own past and trying to tell voters what he thinks they want to hear, rather than someone with any real convictions or any real plans to achieve anything in the future. He claims to favor things like energy independence, lower greenhouse gas emissions, lower gas prices, etc., but where does his past work reflect commitment to these goals? It's just not there.

  9. Edgar Montrose says:

    It's worse than that, grumpypilgrim; John McCain and the whole Republican Party seem to look back with great fondness to the Cold War Era.

    Given a choice between returning to a terrible time in the past and working toward a better time in the future, why would voters choose the past? The Devil you know vs. the Devil you don't, I guess.

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