Sunday, April 20, 2008

He's Gonna Blow

John McCain's infamous, volcanic, uncontrolled temper is the subject of a long article in today's WashPost, in which colleagues and fellow Republicans discuss the implications for the country should he become our president.

"His temper would place this country at risk in international affairs, and the world perhaps in danger. In my mind, it should disqualify him," says former Senator Bob Smith (R-NH). Smith also said, "I've witnessed a lot of his temper and outbursts. For me, some of this stuff is relevant. It raises questions about stability. . . . It's more than just temper. It's this need of his to show you that he's above you -- a sneering, condescending attitude. It's hurt his relationships in Congress. . . . I've seen it up-close."
...over the years, no one has written more intimately about McCain's outbursts than McCain himself. "My temper has often been both a matter of public speculation and personal concern," he wrote in a 2002 memoir. "I have a temper, to state the obvious, which I have tried to control with varying degrees of success because it does not always serve my interest or the public's."

His nicknames in school were "Punk" and "McNasty."

McCain and his surrogates claim he's gotten over such temper tantrums, that they're a thing of the past. Maybe so. But forget what he might say or do to someone like Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of Great Britain, in some high-stakes negotiation. A greater concern for the long term during a McCain presidency would be the self-imposed bubble his temper might create around him, with aides afraid to cross him in any way.

"...critics ... say he has a vindictive streak, that he sees an enemy in anyone who challenges him."

Yeah, like we haven't had enough of THAT in a chief executive.

This article at least helps us understand McCain's sometimes strange way of talking sometimes when he's being pressed by a questioner: a deliberately low-key, eerie soothing tone he adopts, the way some exasperated parents address a difficult child, and the way he interjects "my friend" often when he clearly means exactly the opposite. The difficult child he's addressing is very possibly his own inner brat, who's often on the brink of a chair-flinging, eye-gouging, earlobe-bitting tee-total FIT.

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