Sunday, July 13, 2008

What do you MEAN, you don't know the answer?

HT BlogHer. Their take is worth reading, but it's issue oriented. My problem with this contrast in answers to the same question is far more fundamental.

Clearly, while the idiolgies and more importantly, the idiologies of supporters and donors would dictate considerably different responses, it is damned astonishing that McCain does not have a response.

It's not a difficult question. It's not a "gotcha" question, it goes directly to one of the most important issues today, health coverage in general and in specific, the health of women and reproductive choice.

Now, the questioner might not have liked the proper answer that McCain should have (based on his base) given: "Viagra is covered, and so is pregnancy and childbirth. The inability to have children is broadly considered to be an insurable medical condition, and that's what this is about." (grin) "Do I need to explain why?"

So, why didn't he have such an answer to such a blindingly obvious question? Has he never thought about the implications of the status quo regarding contraception and reproductive health? Has no-one on his staff thought them through? Because, well, it's a damn vital issue to two huge constituencies. Obama has one wrapped up (and just tied a pretty pink bow on it) - so all he has is the other.

And he has no answer. Apparently doesn't understand the question. And he cannot even recall his past votes regarding this issue. What, does he flip a fucking COIN? Is he really a principled maverick, or does he simply suffer from the sort of dissociative fugue states that people suffering from galloping PTSD are prone to?

And what happens if he is elected and has to come up with an answer to a really difficult question, like, say, To Bomb, or Not To Bomb?

Folks, the choice presented here is not between Republican and Democrat - it's between coherent and incoherent. It's between someone who can process information, consider the broad political context and come to a viable policy for improving access to health care as compared to someone who does not seem to understand that policy has direct socio-political implications and costs.

The essence of this is stark. Obama has a coherent set of ethical principles which he has applied to the issues of the day that are important to the electorate. And since he's obviously invested a great deal in considering his principles, he doesn't need to refer to his notes to come up with an answer, even if it's not something he's specifically considered.

McCain, though, seems to be rudderless when the issue cannot be transformed into something relating to terrorism, Iran, Iraq and "Islamofacism." He's unethical and unprincipled, so he's stuck when he cannot calculate the advantage of saying this as opposed to that in this particular news cycle.

And, well, we know how well the unprincipled and rudderless have served us in that regard up to now.

It's not bloggers he hates so much as the inability to control the message and hide all the evidence of having done so. Honestly, I don't think it's a tide any candidate relying on the support of the "republican base" could swim against. But McCain is drowning.

Hey, guys, when you throw someone into the deep end, maybe you should check to see if they can swim.

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