Tuesday, June 24, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Taegan Goddard asks, Should the President Know How to Use a Computer? and notes

The admission that McCain doesn’t use a computer is startling. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush took a beating for not knowing the price of milk as the country slipped into a recession. It’s hard to imagine anyone in 2024 electing a president who doesn’t know much about a fundamental building block of the modern economy.

I think that the main thing that such an admission underscores is McCain’s age, which is not what his campaign needs.

Update: I am not suggesting, btw, that McCain’s qualifications for the presidency have anything to do with his computer skills. Still, for a campaign/image POV I think that all this does is generate images of “great-grandpa can’t use the computer”–which isn’t what McCain needs in a race against Obama. More on the issues here.

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6 Responses to “McCain and Computers”

  • el
  • pt
    1. Anon Says:

      I agree. I think it is arguable that one need not know how to use a computer to run the country.

      However, it’s not like we’re asking him to be a neurosurgeon. How long does it take to learn how to use a browser and Google? One hour? What it suggests, is that he’s unable to learn, which is more of a concern.

    2. Jim Gundlach Says:

      My 88 year old father-in-law is quite proficient with word processing, browsers, e-mail, and a photo album managing program. He does ask his kids and grandkids for help every now and then but when he does, he tries to learn from it, not just have them do things for him. By the way, he thinks McCain is too old to be president.

    3. Max Lybbert Says:

      Wait just a minute. Clinton, famous for being the first President to accept email, for setting up (and, and signing the law making electronic signatures legally binding only sent two emails in his eight years: one was a “is this thing on?” test and the other was symbolic ( ). Even so, he managed OK.

      The Senate has its own IT staff (because there was a scandal a few years ago when the Republicans managed to eavesdrop on the Democrats’ email server) so I don’t think McCain doesn’t know what a computer is or that he doesn’t have staff to print out things for him. “Know how to use a computer” is pretty broad. I’d expect he could write a letter, put information into tables in a spreadsheet (but probably not create formulas in that spreadsheet), and use Skype to save money when making phone calls.

      But, yes, this does show a generational divide.

    4. Max Lybbert Says:

      Sorry, looks like the people who wrote WordPress didn’t expect those of us who can use Computers to put email addresses in our comments.

    5. MSS Says:

      I was thinking of GHWB here, too, but a different image from 1992: the one where he seemed to have no idea what the supermarket price scanner was.

    6. Captain D Says:

      My in-laws don’t use a computer. So what?

      It might actual endear him to some of the 60+ vote.

      There really are a lot of households out there that don’t have computers, and a lot more people who aren’t computer literate than you might think; only about 28% of households in Geogia have a computer. You really get a lot of disparity here state to state, and, predictably, city to country.

      But, those of us who rely on a computer from early in the morning to late at night would do well to remember that our lifestyle doesn’t represent that of a majority of americans. Certainly, computers impact us every day. They are used at Wal-Mart when you buy your T-shirts and eggs, and McDonald’s when you buy a Big Mac, but a surprisingly large number of people don’t actually use computers directly on a day-to-day basis.

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