McCain’s “Knowledge Gap”

Indeed, there are plenty of sharp policy wonks on the wrong side of any issue. The President doesn’t have to be a master of detail. He has advisors. But he has to at least learn enough from his advisors to be able to make an informed decision. McCain doesn’t seem to be able to do this, and his mistakes seem to be more about ideological blindness and political deception than a lack of education.

McCain’s nonsense about Al-Qaeda is remarkably similar to one of the major deceptions that got us into Iraq in the first place, when the Bush administration managed to convince the majority of Americans that Saddam Hussein was tied to Al-Qaeda and even to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The gaffe about Social Security is in line with standard right-wing fairy tales about Social Security being some big Ponzi scheme about to go bust. And the off-shore drilling proposal looks like an effort to make it look like some very small efforts to preserve the environment – rather than the long-term failure of U.S. energy policy – are responsible for soaring gasoline prices.

But regardless of motivation, McCain’s “knowledge gap” should raise some doubts about whether he is qualified to be President.

CEPR – McCain’s “Knowledge Gap”: It’s An Issue . By Mark Weisbrot June 11, 2008, AlterNet

I have this feeling that this issue is going to be murkier than it should be, simply because no one wants to be accused of ageism. I think, too, that there is a legitimate generational issue, given the rapid pace of change. McCain, for example, doesn’t use a personal computer.

What’s worse, to me, is that we keep promoting candidates who are almost willfully ignorant. It’s our anti-intellectualism raising it’s ugly head again. Too often these lapses seem calculated, as Weisbrot says. And too often they seem part of a sort of macho, “know-nothing” swagger.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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