He's courageous, tough, defiant, irascible and he also shows worrisome signs that his capacity to think critically is severely limited.
The latest: this made me wince with embarrassment for him, but I don't think McCain even realized that there was any problem with what he said.
Of course, anyone can cherry-pick bad moments from a campaign, but I have yet to hear anything from McCain that I would call a good moment—a moment of reassurance that McCain is both intellectually and temperamentally suited to function as a wise and effective executive.
One could dismiss the blunders as momentary lapses if they were offset by evidence that McCain has the intellect to handle the job. There has been no such reassurance. McCain's thinking consistently comes across as blunted and concrete. Rather than representing lapses, his blundering comments might accurately represent the overall quality of his thinking. Even President Bush, whose intellectual endowment has been widely derided by his critics, has shown a greater capacity for abstract analysis than anything I've seen from McCain thus far.
McCain has been praised for his toughness, but while mental toughness can be used to advantage by a leader who possesses other qualities of good leadership, it is useless to an executive who doesn't know what to be tough about. My greatest fear is that a thickheaded McCain would be in over his head, managed by aides who tiptoe around his famously explosive temper while privately regarding him as President McFoggy. Even more worrisome is that a fuzzy-brained executive would be highly vulnerable to the machinations of ambitious, unelected men and women whose interests might not dovetail with the best interests of America.
More from McCain:
My friends, we have reached a crisis, the first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War. (Tip to Andrew Sullivan)
How can anyone read this without having grave worries that McCain is already in far over his head? Has he always been this way or is he declining? McCain's mind is becoming the elephant in the room.