John McCain, if elected, would likely govern in a much different manner than the current administration, but would it be different enough? His speech tonight was effective in portraying him as a reasonable and pragmatic thinker who talked about education, energy and terrorism to rousing applause.
McCain's life of service is admirable, but the question for today is whether he would make a good president with the current problems we face. I can see his points on a number of issues, and I can be magnanimous enough to recognize his references such as "legislating from the bench" as a wink to the right wing nutjobs that he needs in his camp.
At the end of the day, I would trust that McCain would use common sense in governing, choosing judges and dealing with our allies. He's not stupid and while he may have a slightly different world view than I have and he may be a bit too beholden to the anti-choice conservatives than I would prefer, I still maintain that, if elected, McCain would serve us well.... assuming one thing.
The issue bearing down on McCain's candidacy is his age and health. This may sound cliche, but it is a question that cannot go away. Up until yesterday, I would have said that worse for the country than a President McCain dying or leaving office would be McCain becoming invalid and leaving governance to some nameless bureaucrats. But after hearing Sarah Palin last night, I realize that a President McCain dying in office would be an unmitigated disaster*.
I voted for McCain in two primary elections over the past eight years. The 64 year-old John McCain was the far better candidate for the Republican party in 2000 and I proudly cast my ballot for him. The 72 year-old McCain is the same man, but a far different candidate. The Republican party is far different now than it was in 2000. The damage done to this nation under the watch of George W. Bush cannot be calculated and I'm not sure that McCain represents enough change for my liking.
John McCain's reiteration of his POW captivity was, as always, inspirational, but I have heard this story or read accounts of this saga at least a dozen times. Does it ever get old? McCain had to remind the cheering throng that Obama had no military experience. Where was this throng when George W. Bush, the draft dodger, was insinuating our military into an illegal war and abrogating our international treaties while the rest of us have been screaming? I find this disingenuous.
McCain used the term "change" ten times tonight in an attempt to usurp the meme from Obama, the true change agent. John McCain is the General fighting the last war in more ways than one. The nation is a lot different than it was 8 years ago, as is the world, and we need new leadership for a new world.
Nobody will buy him as a change from Bush.
I know I don't.
*Palin's speech last night was breathtaking. Honestly, I sat down to bang out my take on it, but nausea overtook me and I thought it would just be better to leave it all unsaid. Not in a million years could I imagine her as my president. What's next? Barney Fife as Attorney General? Seriously.