Like everyone else, I’ve been trying to figure out what to think of the two U.S. presidential candidates and their running mates (I’m almost sure McCain will choose Romney). For me, it boils down to this: how would they have reacted to the deaths of more than 3,000 people in terrorist attacks on American soil?
Here’s the thing: It doesn’t really matter how they would’ve reacted. What matters is the advice they would’ve been given.
Obama’s response probably would’ve been more to my liking — more reasoned, lawyerly, multilateral. McCain, on the other hand, has surrounded himself with neocon ideologues the likes of whom I no longer trust. Of the two candidates, he probably would’ve been the one to lash out against whoever happened to be the bad guy on his political agenda; after all, he’s done it before, and with Scheunemann, Kagan and Kristol advising him, what’s to say he won’t do it again?
The president may be the decider, but the Bush presidency should’ve taught us that not all bad decisions emanate from the executive — that, in fact, there may be no decisions at all, if the guy happens to be totally blasé about running a superpower. Just think how different the world would look like if instead of Rumsfeld and Tenet we would’ve had Gates and Hayden, and if the likes of Haynes, Yoo, Feith and Wolfowitz — all since resigned — would’ve been giving lectures in Harvard instead of bad advice in the White House?