Others See It Too


TPM Reader JR on McCain’s weakness as a foreign policy leader …

To follow up on Josh’s earlier post on “McCain’s inability to see beyond the immediate issues of military tactics to any firm grasp of strategy” — that reminded me of something that a conservative, long-time McCain foe told me recently about the McCain – it’s too neat of an explanation, but it occurred to me then (and now, reading Josh’s post) that it has some usefulness.

The guy — who has been watching and fighting against McCain for years — basically said that McCain has the personality of a Navy pilot, which is to say he is focused like a laser on tactics and maneuvering and has little grasp of overall strategy, nor does he want it; and that is coupled with a total enthrallment of his own rightness.

The guy’s point was — the skills of instant two-step-ahead (but no more) thinking and total faith in one’s decision-making are what keep you alive in a cockpit, but it doesn’t serve you well in politics (or leadership). It leads to what Josh was noting – an inability to grasp strategy or nuance, and a general lack of self-awareness that comes from self-questioning.

The closest parallel was Duke Cunningham, he said. Which I thought was kind of funny — McCain is clearly brighter and substantially less criminal that Duke. But they are/were both short-term thinkers absolutely convinced of their own rightness. Maybe it *is* a pilot thing.