18 July 2008

McCain Isn't The Sharpest Guy In The Senate

Presidental candidate John McCain, by his own admission, was fifth from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy out of 899 ("barely passing" in his words), and doesn't know how to use a computer, even simply to surf the net.

The net ignorance isn't explained by age alone either. My father and most of his contemporaries, who are similar in age in McCain, are quite facile with computers and routinely use the Internet, even those who weren't part of the computer revolution from the start, as my father was (he was buying computers for the office back in the 1970s). The parents of almost all the kids I went to college with (who are also of McCain's generation for the most part), like my parents, routinely communicated with me by e-mail back in the 1980s. I've worked for a couple of law partners (both Republicans) who were utterly computer illiterate, but both of them had their memorable moments of military service in World War II, not Vietnam where McCain's service thrust him into the fame that would put wind at his back as he ran for public office. Also, keep in mind that the only major the Naval Academy offered when McCain was there was in engineering, which is not normally a major associated with computer illiteracy.

The Republican authors of the book, "The Grand New Party" who favor repositiong the party as the nation's "working class" party were embarassed by their candidate's dimness on an interview with "Fresh Air" and noted that they here little enthusiasm for McCain in Republican circles. They aren't alone. Another conservative Republican party critic, Bruce Bartlett (author of “Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy” and “Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past”), recently proclaimed that:

In conversations with my conservative friends, I almost never hear any real support for John McCain. Between the utter disgust most conservatives feel these days for the party of George W. Bush and the disdain that many feel for McCain personally because of his long record of deriding conservative policies ranging from taxes to stem cells, there simply isn’t much to excite a conservative this political season.

Bartlett then went on to debunk the practical importance of the differences between McCain and Obama on taxes and judges (without even mentioning McCain's famous recent flip flop on the judicial appointee issue from a previous more moderate stance in a private conversation with a group of Republican insiders).

1 comment:

Dave Barnes said...

Andrew wrote: "Also, keep in mind that the only major the Naval Academy offered when McCain was there was in engineering, which is not normally a major associated with computer illiteracy."

That is really unfair to John. Definitely a snarky remark, but unfair.

I graduated with an engineering degree in 1970 and computers were very rare on campus. Most engineers had one class with an analog computer and maybe some exposure to a Wang calculator. That was it. Almost none used the mainframe IBM 360/65.

John graduated in 1959. I would bet that Annapolis had 0 to 1 computers unless you count gunnery computers (which I don't). So, it is not fair to imply that his education should have exposed him to computers.

It is fair to ding him for not knowing anything about computers today. Even my 87 year old father knows who to send email and check his mutual funds online.