Republicans would be most unwise to select John McCain as their contender for the presidency. Not because of his liberal views, but because he’s far too unstable for even a minor managerial role.
McCain is criticized for his policies – suppressing political speech with McCain-Feingold, voting to grant citizenship to illegal aliens, and trying to micromanage the US military in Iraq (where all it needs is time – the Brits took 7 years to suppress the Malayan insurgents). But reasonable conservatives may differ on these judgements, so his positions don’t reveal fatal flaws.
His flaws are those of character – he publicly attacks then privately appeases his colleagues. Yesterday for example:
While strongly backing President George W Bush’s decision to send an extra 21,500 troops, Mr McCain pulled no punches while addressing a crowd in South Carolina.
“We are paying a very heavy price for the mismanagement – that’s the kindest word I can give you – of Donald Rumsfeld, of this war.”…”I think that Donald Rumsfeld will go down as one of the worst secretaries of defence in history,” he added.
Mr McCain has long been a critic of Mr Rumsfeld, clashing with him over his responsibility for the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in 2004. But when the Pentagon chief was asked to resign by Mr Bush in November the senator was complimentary.
“While Secretary Rumsfeld and I have had our differences, he deserves Americans’ respect and gratitude for his many years of public service,” he said at the time.
If Rumsfeld is as McCain now describes him, how can he possibly “deserve Americans’ respect and gratitude”?
Here’s Dick Cheney:
“John (McCain) said some nasty things about me the other day, then next time he saw me ran over to apologize.”
This habit of publicly abusing colleagues, then apologizing, often in private, is a gross fault, because nobody with any self respect will work for him. That’s no doubt why McCain chose the management-free life of a senator.
His competitors for the Republican nomination have demonstrated their competence as managers , and though neither thrills me, they would be capable of running the nation.
McCain would just create a Carterite mess – so scratch him from the race.