Over on Dispatches from the Culture Wars, Ed Brayton has an excellent piece about a recent interview with John McCain on his "Straight Talk Express" tour bus, where he was asked whether the U.S. should fund condom distribution in Africa and elsewhere around the world to help prevent AIDS. You can read the whole transcript (much of which is appalling) on Ed's blog, or on the New York Times blog he was citing. I just want to point out the comments that really jumped out at me:
"I never got a question about it before."
"You've stumped me."
"I've never gotten into these issues before."
So let me get this straight.
He's been in Congress since 1982. He's been in the Senate since 1986. He ran for President in 2000. In other words, his national political career dovetails almost perfectly with the emergence of the AIDS epidemic in this country.
And this is the first time he's considered the question of what the U.S. government should and should not do to help stop the spread of HIV?
That, just by itself, makes him grotesquely unqualified to be President. Heck, it makes him grotesquely unqualified to be in the Senate.
Of course, I don't think that's really what's going on. I don't think this is the first time he's considered this question. I just think it's the first time he's considered this question since he decided that, if he wants to be President, he has to start sucking the dick of the religious right. (The more I read about McCain, the more I realize that the whole "free-thinking maverick who'll fight for the little guy" schtick is one of the most successful snow jobs in the history of American politics. You can read more about him in the Culture Wars archives and on Making Light.)
But look at it this way. The very fact that he thinks "Gee, I never really thought about this before" is a remotely valid response to the question "What should the U.S. government do to help stop the spread of HIV?" -- that, just by itself, proves beyond any doubt that he is not qualified to be dogcatcher... much less a Senator, and much, much less a President.