The GOP loyalist response to McCain’s stunt has been predictable (right down to Gingrich’s Romneyesque call for a “workout, not a bailout”), and it says a great deal about what these people think constitutes leadership: opportunism, trying to hog the credit for other people’s work and, above all, a mindless dedication to taking action. No doubt, if these were what made for great leaders McCain would be the new Augustus.
Laughably, Gingrich likens this to Eisenhower’s “I will go to Korea,” but unlike Eisenhower and the Korean war McCain has no credibility concerning the crisis he is supposedly addressing. In the end, knowing when you can contribute something and knowing when to avoid complicating an already difficult situation by intruding on ongoing negotiations is what separates grandstanding from leadership. It is what separates the simple egomaniacs from the ambitious pols who nonetheless have some idea what public service is. McCain’s belief that he is indispensable in a time of crisis is the surest sign that he is unfit for any office in republican government, much less the chief magistracy of the Republic.