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I suppose it is kind of preposterous that one imagines himself important enough to write down his opinions for others to read. Chattering superciliousness is one of the most infuriating things about academics and so-called intellectuals, generally, who feel compelled to share their thoughts. But here it goes, anyway.

My Republican Friends Have No Credibility When it Comes to Political Judgment

By Michael E. Berumen 09/19/08

So, let’s get this straight. You Republicans twice elected the man slated to go down as among the worst presidents in our nation’s history, and even now you imagine that your political acuity and credibility are such that others ought to listen to your views? That’s really funny. No, sorry, the empirical evidence is that you have little to offer beyond a record of incredibly poor judgment. Faced with 4 years of overwhelming evidence of malfeasance and mismanagement, you even voted for him again. It demonstrates that facts mean nothing when they conflict with your partisan views. I’ll formulate my own opinions based on a study of history (written by real historians) and the facts, insofar as they can be discerned in the immediacy of current events, rather than from the inanities of the unlettered, glib pundits of cable television, the Internet, and talk radio. With that said, I still would enjoy having a beer with you and listening to what you might have to say about other things, for example, music, art, the market, movies, the weather and such, about which I expect you have much more to offer and there is less at stake.

I was for McCain in 2000 when you Republicans ought to have been and most were not. I well recall the scorn heaped upon him by my Republican friends back in 2000, when McCain was at his very best. Their latter-day turnabout is clearly just merely a matter of rooting for their team, unadulterated partisanship, and it is not centered in any principled reasoning. I remain an admirer of McCain, today, and I think he would have been immeasurably better than the current mediocrity that occupies the Oval Office. But now McCain is too old and, in a Faustian bargain, he has been compromised by the religious zealots and corporate welfare interests that run the Republican Party. Moreover, his impulsiveness and penchant for using his gut as opposed to analysis worries me. Good traits in a fighter pilot, maybe, but not so good in a Commander-in-Chief. To be sure, we could do much worse than McCain. He’s a man of great personal character and the kind of guy I would want next to me in my foxhole. But I do not necessarily want Audie Murphy or Sgt. York as President. Character and courage are not tantamount to wisdom. Indeed, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that whatever wisdom McCain once had has been significantly tarnished. The truth is, McCain's day has come and gone.

McCain makes much of the success (though limited and fragile) of the troop surge that he supported. His analysis of our inadequate troop strength was correct, and like many others over the last 5 years, including this writer, he understood the occupation was being grossly mismanaged. However, while he had some tactical things right, he was wrong on the essential strategic issue, namely, going to war with Iraq and occupying the country in the first place. And that's a very big blunder, indeed, one that has cost many lives and many billions of dollars. Meanwhile, with our resources misallocated, mismanaged, and stretched to their limits, our true enemies remain at large in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

As for Ms. Palin, well, among other reasons, I couldn’t possibly vote for someone who shoots defenseless beasts from a helicopter for the sheer fun of it all. Add to this her recent and remarkable support of an organization whose principal platform is Alaska's secession from the United States and her stated belief that dinosaurs and men roamed the earth together 6,000 years ago. One wonders if she's actually ever read a science book. Whatever other virtues she might have, I find these things overwhelmingly disturbing. There is really nothing else I need or want to know about her, and nothing more that I need to say about her. However, it does say something about McCain's judgment and a newfound willingness to pander to the base of the party.

If Obama doesn't win, I will not be shattered, for notwithstanding his several deficiencies, McCain remains a good man. Given who he chose as his successor, one would only hope he lives out his term, or terms should he be re-elected. With that said, I remain reasonably certain that of the two, Obama has both the intellectual and emotional capacity, the temperament, to make sounder, wiser judgments, ones based on analysis and principled reasoning, and that he has the greater wherewithal to lead the nation where it needs to go in the 21st Century. And, in any event, the political opinions of those who put President Bush into office in the first place, and who then kept him there for 8 years, have very little weight and moment to me. Please, spare me from having to hear them and share them amongst yourselves.