Is McCain too brash and indecisive?

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

Considering that Sen. McCain had not officially decided on whether to attend the first presidential debate until the night before, I guess he expected Sen. Obama and others to commend him for his courage in leaving a Congressional debate on the Wall Street bailout that he had no role in, and probably not much knowledge about either.

Again and again, Sen. McCain labeled his rival as naïve and inexperienced. Each time he suggested Sen. Obama didn’t understand how the political world works, I could not help but think of his own naive and inexperienced running mate.

Just last week, conservative columnist David Brooks wrote that Gov. Palin "has not been engaged in national issues, does not have a repertoire of historic patterns and, like President Bush, seems to compensate for her lack of experience with brashness and excessive decisiveness.”

Based on his recent comments on the collapse of some of the world’s largest financial institutions, one could also say the same thing about Sen. McCain’s brashness and excessive decisiveness. This is the same candidate who recently announced that SEC Chair Christopher Cox should be fired (why, because Congress never gave the SEC authority to effectively regulate dumb business decisions?) and suspended his entire campaign to focus on the bailout legislation—only that he didn’t really suspend his campaign and played virtually no role in crafting the eventual legislation.

In contrast to McCain, Sen. Obama played it cool and educated himself by listening to both sides of the discussion before expressing an opinion that does not differ all that much from Sen. McCain’s on the bailout bill.

Obviously, there is a lot more at stake than just leadership and crisis management skills in this year’s elections, but I must say that I prefer leadership that is calm, cool and collected as opposed to the brash and excessive decisiveness that David Brooks referred to, particularly in times of war and financial crisis.

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