I’ve determined that John McCain has a depth problem.

Over the past few weeks, I have written a few times about McCain’s lack of familiarity with technology — specifically e-mail and the web.  In a New York Times interview, the candidate told a reporter that he’s working on that whole internet thing.

Q: But do you go on line for yourself?

Mr. McCain: They go on for me. I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself. I don’t expect to be a great communicator, I don’t expect to set up my own blog, but I am becoming computer literate to the point where I can get the information that I need – including going to my daughter’s blog first, before anything else.

Q: Do you use a blackberry or email?

Mr. McCain: No.

Emphasis added.

But let’s not forget another interview Senator McCain gave with the San Francisco Chronicle.

GOP presidential candidate John McCain, fundraising in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the nation’s technology capitals, acknowledged Monday that he isn’t a “tech freak” or entirely comfortable with the Internet, BlackBerrys or e-mail. But he strongly disputed criticism that he is “out of the loop” as unfair.

As former head of the U.S. Senate Commerce committee, McCain said, he has been a driving force to oversee legislation that helped the Internet flourish – even as he is still learning to get comfortable with it himself.

“Am I a tech freak? No,” he said in an interview Monday with The Chronicle. “And I don’t like to text message because I’d rather call somebody on the telephone.”

“I do understand the importance of the computer. I understand the importance of the blogs,” he said.

McCain said he is well aware that technology “does drive the news. It is changing the shape of the news. … It’s changing the information age, and I’ve got to stay up with it.”

He added, “But I am forcing myself … let me put it this way, I am using the computer more and more every day.”

And that’s where we were a few weeks ago.  A 72 year old Republican candidate that was simply technology deficient.  A candidate of the “olden days,” as Paris Hilton might say.

But then something troubling happened.  McCain gave an otherwise innocent speech in Erie, PA on August 11th regarding the Georgia-Russia conflict.  Reports then surfaced linking McCain’s speech to the Wikipedia entry for “Georgia.”  Remarkably similar passages were laid out, side by side, at some websites; this revealed an uncanny similarity, familiar to college professors who have been victims of plagiarism:

First instance:

one of the first countries in the world to adopt Christianity as an official religion (Wikipedia)

vs.

one of the world’s first nations to adopt Christianity as an official religion (McCain)

Second instance:

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia had a brief period of independence as a Democratic Republic (1918-1921), which was terminated by the Red Army invasion of Georgia. Georgia became part of the Soviet Union in 1922 and regained its independence in 1991. Early post-Soviet years was marked by a civil unrest and economic crisis. (Wikipedia)

vs.

After a brief period of independence following the Russian revolution, the Red Army forced Georgia to join the Soviet Union in 1922. As the Soviet Union crumbled at the end of the Cold War, Georgia regained its independence in 1991, but its early years were marked by instability, corruption, and economic crises. (McCain)

While the campaign, of course, has tried to muddle this controversy, I think the phrasing similarities speak for themselves.  There’s no doubt that the source was relied upon; as for whether it was careless research or a calculated effort, we don’t really have the ability to know.

But let’s assume, at the minimum, that this was a result of careless writing by the McCain campaign.  No other act could be further from their campaign message, could it?  They are running on the senator’s foreign policy experience, his ability to rely on his knowledge of countries around the world and the web of geopolitics linking them.  They’re also running against someone they portray to be a lazy celebrity.  The “life must be grand in the spotlight” McCain ad comes to mind here.  Obama, they’re trying to argue, is merely a lightweight, an empty suit, who can do nothing more than string words together.  But McCain’s problem here is that he couldn’t even do that.

If one wishes to be viewed as a foreign policy heavyweight, he or she should be able to put their own views into their own words.  I, and many other Millennials, want the best person for the job.  We don’t want someone who can’t provide the country with original thought.  We’re not looking for someone who can’t communicate with us at our level.  We’re looking for someone with depth, who can make sound decisions based on statistics, data, advice from the best and the brightest.

After his interviews revealing technological ignorance, after his attacks on Obama void of any logical justification for his own candidacy, and after this Wikipedia incident, John McCain is not proving to be a deep candidate.

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