Everybody has the occasionally "senior moment," even when young. I was much younger when I was delivering a talk about sea otters for the Sierra Club. I knew all of the scientific data and conservation goals, but all I could remember was what a TV reporter I had interviewed with called them - Ocean Rats. But for the life of me, at that podium I could not remember the phrase Sea Otter. Embarrassing. Never did it again.
St. John McCain reprised his gaffe confusing al Qaeda with Shi'ites today at the Petraeus hearing. When he last did it, two weeks ago, Brit Hume dismissed it as a senior moment. Perhaps, but making a mistake once is a mistake, twice is a habit. McCain's droning, expressionless, monotone questioning is suggestive of a slowing mind. His habit of making fundamental errors in what is supposed to be his strength, foreign policy, is downright frightening.
I suspect that McCain has not been clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Yet. But, accumulating an excessive number of "senior moments" is an early symptom. McCain has had a hard life. Five years of torture in a Vietnamese prison camp has done irreparable damage to his body, mind, and spirit. The damage to his body is evident in his inability to lift his arms above his head. The damage to his spirit shows in his irrational, violent, often cruel temper. We may be seeing the first clear signs of the damage to his mind. The escalating number of "senior moments" shows how badly his mental acuity is deteriorating.