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actor212

Nicely put, sir.

apostate

Lance, you are some kind of genius. I don't know what kind, because you are sometimes wrong, but when you're right, you're so right.

You are more right than anyone else on the definition of a maverick. You are right about John McCain.

But you are wrong about what mavericks can and cannot do (for instance, entering politics) and you are wrong about it being presumptuous, at all, ever, to want to be president.

actor212

Apostate,

Doesn't the mere fact of wanting to be President imply that presumptuousness *has* to be part of the formula?

Rana

Declaring that oneself is better suited than an entire planet to be the leader of one of the world's last superpowers isn't presumptuous? Those are some pretty high standards.

And I didn't read this as being about what a maverick CANNOT do, but rather what it is unlikely for such a person to do. Politics in a democracy is at least nominally about enacting the will of the group, and Lance has very clearly laid out that mavericks in their essence aren't interested in the group except when its direction coincides with their own.

In any case, I think Lance's overall point stands.

Either McCain IS a maverick, in which case he's picked the wrong career, and the media is stupid to think that mavericky-ness is a virtue in a politician in a democracy; or he is not, and is only labeled so because the media is stupid enough to mistake self-importance and arrogance for solipsism.

Either way, McCain is ill-suited for the requirements of the job to which he aspires, and the media are a bunch of shallow-thinking idiots. Sounds reasonable to me.

Chris the cop

"McCain has gone through periods during which he's appeared to act somewhat maverickishly." (Lance)

"the media is stupid to think that mavericky-ness is a virtue." (Rana)

I can't believe either of you didn't know the correct form is maverickeousness(ly). What school did you go to?

Bill Altreuter

McCain's no maverick. He's just another cowboy with a chip on his shoulder. His wife-- that is to say, his first wife-- seems to understand him: "My marriage ended because John McCain didn’t want to be 40, he wanted to be 25." He has probably grown up a little in the past 20 years, but he is still a spoiled man-child, and we've spent the last eight years witnessing what a spoiled man-child can do with unlimited power and only modest impulse control. If McCain were a maverick he wouldn't be in politics-- it is not a job mavericks want, and mavericks aren't the sort of people that get elected to things, either. He's a smartass, and I think you have it right when you say he doesn't stand for anything. His signature issue is campaign finance reform, because he got caught and embarrassed once. There are few things more obnoxious than a reformed anything, of course. George W. Bush is a dry drunk, John McCain wants to clean up politics. Don't you wish that they'd both been cigarette smokers? Life would be so much better for us all if they'd just turned into the kind of people who give speeches to people about the evils of tobacco, instead of what they are.

Mavericks are independent thinkers, sort of. I see no evidence that McCain has ever held a thought in his head for longer than it took him to say something flip about it. It would be a better thing for us all if he were a maverick, because then we wouldn't have to deal with him. He'd be making a nuisance of himself in the private sector, spending his wife's money, and being rude to waiters and salespeople.

Linkmeister

"What he wants is to be the Commander because that will prove...that he is the Commander."

You forgot the final two words that ought to be there: "in Chief."

He wants to be the great military leader.

I think he feels like he lost 5+ years and the opportunity to become an Admiral, and that bugs him (as the son and grandson of Admirals). So he's decided he'll go one better; instead of being CNO he wants to be C-in-C.

apostate

Declaring that oneself is better suited than an entire planet to be the leader of one of the world's last superpowers isn't presumptuous? Those are some pretty high standards.

So are standards for most jobs that are complex, and there are many many complex jobs. Yet, people aspire to them every day and nobody calls them presumptuous for doing so if they're qualified and appear to be up to the task.

I don't think aspiring to complex jobs, if one is qualified, is presumptuous, and I don't see why one need make an exception for the presidency of the U.S. Sure, it's a tough job, but it's also not beyond the capabilities of most people of sufficient intelligence and some appropriate experience and judgment. As long as they meet those requirements and the requirements stated in the constitution, why call it presumption? Remember, the more complex a job gets, the more diffused the responsibility of performing that job is. That's why presidents have cabinets.

If it ever is presumptuous to wish to take on a complex job, it's not when someone seeks it through a competitive process, based on evaluation of their suitability; it's when someone feels *entitled* to it without going through the competitive process while lacking what it takes.

To say, without qualification, that it is always presumptuous to seek the highest office in a superpower no matter who seeks it, is to say that nobody could possibly be good enough for this job. That's simply not the case.

I KNOW people who could be president. If they desired it, it would be *appropriate* for them to seek the office, not presumptuous in the least.

As for the other question - of how a maverick is likely going to act and what a maverick is likely to do - Lance gets so much wrong, I don't even want to get into it.

Chris the cop

I think Apostate is attaching too much of a negative connotation to 'presumptuous.' It's a necessary component to running for President. To be presumptuous enough to want to the job doesn't make you wrong. I mean, Obama is the presumptive nominee, right?

But Lance, I think the notion that McCain's motives for running are shallow (doesen't care about issues deeply, just wants to prove he's right about everything, wants to win just to whip the bad guys in Iraq) is just bilge. There are lots of good reasons to be against McCain - him being shallow isn't one of them because it isn't accurate.

As for the notion that "his problem has been that he's never been able to figure out how to take over. He's just expected everyone to hand him the job." - I don't see how-- after all the crap McCain (or Obama)has to go through in order to run for President--anyone can conclude McCain expected the job to be handed to him. One thing I'll say of both Obama and McCain is that no matter which one wins the election, they both earned it.

Apostate

I think Apostate is attaching too much of a negative connotation to 'presumptuous.' It's a necessary component to running for President.

No. Perhaps arrogance. A justifiable arrogance.

Not presumption. That implies unworthiness.

There is no escaping the pejorative connotation of the word.

actor212

"McCain has gone through periods during which he's appeared to act somewhat maverickishly." (Lance)

"the media is stupid to think that mavericky-ness is a virtue." (Rana)

I can't believe either of you didn't know the correct form is maverickeousness(ly). What school did you go to?

I thought it was maveriquity?

actor212

Apostate, are you suggesting, then, that everyone who runs for office suffers not from ambition and presumptuousness, but the hubris of believing they are qualified, as opposed to knowing they are?

That seems an awful fine distinction to be cutting, unless I'm misreading you.

And I take (mild) exception to the point that somehow any job prepares you for the Presidency. Arguably, one of the most qualified men to run for President in the past thirty years was George Bush: two-term governor of Texas, one of the largest states in the Union, and yet no one here would dispute the man was totally lost in the White House, except for his pigheadedness regarding warmongering.

I can't imagine a job that would more qualify you to be President than to administer to a large, diverse state. Can you?

apostate

Actor, all qualifications aren't created equal. There are bad CEOs who looked qualified when they were chosen for the job.

Bush ran a large state, but badly, and he ran companies into the ground. That's not qualifications that should count - they're warnings.

I'm thinking of two people in particular that I personally know who would make great presidents and both are lawyers. Neither has "run" anything on his/her own. But they're decision-makers and whip-smart and they can master details of any subject they're briefed on and do a better job of tackling the subject than the person who briefed them.

And they have tons and tons of charm. They are alpha people and nobody else leads when they're in the room, no matter what the situation is. And they create loyalty without actively seeking followers.

Not ANY job prepares you - but not all resume bullet points are equal either (i.e. governorships are not automatic indications of anything).

And I never said people who run for president don't "suffer" from ambition. Now that is certainly a prerequisite for the job.

That seems an awful fine distinction to be cutting, unless I'm misreading you.

I think you might be misreading and that's my fault - I'm so long-winded.

It's not really a fine distinction. Being justifiably arrogant: knowing you are damned good and can prove it (Bill Clinton). Being presumptuous? Unworthy of what you're seeking. Big difference.

Chris the Cop

212 - maveriquity is the Old English form. This is 2008: it's time you let go of the ancient ways...

tdraicer

From where I stand neither McCain or Obama belongs anywhere near the White House. So given the choice of two failed presidents, the question becomes, "Would you rather the Dems or the GOP gets the blame?"

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