John McCain believes that Czechoslovakia is still a country, despite the fact that it has not been for 15 years. Actually, he believes it so earnestly he’s repeated it twice in less than a week. This makes him the type of person that one might charitably describe as a dum-dum.
I know what some readers are thinking: "Hell, I didn't know Czechoslovakia isn't a country anymore, either – and, darn it, I'm no dum-dum!" Well, maybe you are and maybe you aren't, but it's rather beside the point since you're not running to be the President of the United States, the most globally important job on the planet.
Unfortunately, for a whole lot of reasons, McCain is – and that means he probably ought to have a passing familiarity with the goings-on in Europe over the last couple of decades. After all, it's a rather important continent and serious stuff happens there. It's totally in the Top 10, at least.
So what's he been spending his time learning these last 15 years?
Surely not how to navigate the internets – despite how remarkable they are – given that he's a self-described computer "illiterate who has to rely on [his] wife for all of the assistance that [he] can get" and doesn’t do e-mail. And he definitely hasn't been spending time boning up on the economy or foreign policy (he still can’t keep Shiia’s and Sunni’s straight despite Joe Lieberman’s whispered explanations) or basic sex ed. I'm just not sure exactly what his feisty little noggin's been up to with the exception of learning during his thwarted presidential run in 2000 that, when Karl Rove trashes your family, the only appropriate response if you want to be president some day is, "Thank you, sir. May I have another?"
By this point, perhaps some of you are thinking: "Oh, big deal. So he doesn't know Czechoslovakia doesn't exist anymore. Whoopty-doo. Not everyone's an A student, you brown-nosing geography nerd."
True, not everyone is.
The thing is we've given the leadership-of-the-nation-to-the-C-student thing a try. And it didn't work out so well. Maybe we could try shooting for something a little higher this time?
My fellow Americans, let's have a little dignity and expect more of our president than we expect of ourselves.
It's really OK if you didn't get the memo about Czeko, although a daily dose of international news never hurt anyone, with the possible exception of Archduke Ferdinand. But it's really not OK that John McCain didn't – and it's alright to hold him to a higher standard. In fact, I firmly support the idea that, at least once in awhile, the president should be the smartest person in the room.
*When I was young, oh so much younger than today, I believed that the United States would become completely unhinged at some point in my lifetime. This...