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Friday 18 Aug 2017 | 01:58 | SYDNEY
Friday 18 Aug 2017 | 01:58 | SYDNEY

The virtue of McCain's techno-illiteracy

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15 July 2008 10:15

As this story form The Age illustrates, John McCain's admission that he does not use email and has to be shown how to browse the web will inevitably be spun as another indicator of how out of touch he is with the modern world, and how plain old he is (see here for the inevitable Grampa Simpson analogy). But I'm not sure the comparison does Obama any favours either:

But Senator McCain added: "I've never felt the particular need to email. "I read emails all the time, but the communications that I have with my friends and staff are oral and done with my cell phone." Senator Obama always carries his BlackBerry with him, and is often seen tapping out emails on his campaign plane.

Readers in Australia who saw last night's Andrew Denton interview with former Prime Minister Bob Hawke will recall that when Hawke was asked about what it took to be a good leader, he immediately nominated delegation as an important quality. To illustrate the harm that can be done by a leader who cannot delegate, Hawke recalled a famous anecdote about Jimmy Carter, who as President allegedly kept tabs on such minutae as who was using the White House tennis court.

As Dan Drezner argues, the most precious commodity a President has is time. The fact that McCain has delegated tasks like emailing to his staff, and that he trusts them to bring him important information, counts in his favour.

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