David Gergen: McCain's torture in Vietnam coming back to hurt him in campaign...

I like David Gergen, and I consider him to have one of the greatest political minds in America, but sometimes I think he fails to think before he dispenses his wisdom. On Anderson Cooper's CNN show Anderson Cooper 360, Gergen was asked how formidable John McCain had appeared to him in the early stages of the campaign, and I was shocked to hear the Harvard professor respond by saying,
"...it used to be that 70 was the new 60, because people were feeling more energetic at an older age...but with John McCain it appears that 70 is 70. Maybe the torture and abuse that he suffered while a POW in Vietnam is finally taking a toll on him."
I am paraphrasing his comments, as I just watched them 15 minutes ago, so I don't want to give off the wrong impression of the context in which they were said. Gergen went on to say that he deeply respects John McCain and considers him to have the most character of any candidate in the race, but Gergen was less than diplomatic in expressing his real concerns about whether McCain is at a point in his life where he can handle the trials and tribulations of life in the White House.

Gergin may in fact be right, and we would all probably be better off today (or at least the Republican Party would be better off) if McCain had won the last Republican Primary he ran in eight years ago when he was in the prime of his life and definitely had the right stuff. Whether of not he is up to the task in 2008 has yet to be determined, and I don't agree with Professor Gergen's assessment that McCain looks like a tired or aging candidate. In fact, I have been impressed by McCain's vitality and passion, and I certainly do not hold the fact that he suffered in the living hell of the Hanoi Hilton against him as I weigh his claim to the Republican Party's candidacy.

McCain may be over the hill, but he is sharp as a tack, so if he needs a wheelchair to get between events I think we should give him that luxury and not make a campaign issue out of it. We did elect a man in a wheelchair to take on the great fascist menace that ravaged the globe during WWII, maybe that is what we need to take on the modern fascist threat consuming the Muslim world.

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