Between the recent Rolling Stone expose on McCain's history of temper and nepotism and today's article on the Daily Beast, (hat tip: HuffPo), I'm wondering if I should get my passport in order and a plane ticket to, say, London pre-purchased in case of an election day upset. Seriously... is this the kind of guy you want sitting behind the highest-stress desk in thew world?
From the Daily Beast article, linked to in the first paragraph:
McCain’s game is craps. So is Jeff Dearth’s. Jeff was at the table when McCain showed up and happily made room for him. Apparently there is some kind of rule or tradition in craps that everyone’s hands are supposed to be above the table when the dice are about to be thrown. McCain—“very likely distracted by one of the many people who approached him that evening,” Jeff says charitably—apparently was violating this rule. A small middle-aged woman at the table, apparently a “regular,” reached out and pulled McCain’s arm away. I’ll let Jeff take over the story:
“McCain immediately turned to the woman and said between clenched teeth: ‘DON’T TOUCH ME.’ The woman started to explain...McCain interrupted her: ‘DON’T TOUCH ME,’ he repeated viciously. The woman again tried to explain. ‘DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO?’ McCain continued, his voice rising and his hands now raised in the ‘bring it on’ position. He was red-faced. By this time all the action at the table had stopped. I was completely shocked. McCain had totally lost it, and in the space of about ten seconds. ‘Sir, you must be courteous to the other players at the table,’ the pit boss said to McCain. “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? ASK ANYBODY AROUND HERE WHO I AM.”
This being Puerto Rico, the pit boss might not have known McCain. But the senator continued in full fury—“DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO? DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?”—and crisis was avoided only when Jeff offered to change places and stand between McCain and the woman who had touched his arm.
Wow... He's quite the tough guy against a "small, middle-aged woman", ain't he? This sort of behavior is nothing new for McCain. According to McCain's own admission he does have a bit of an explosive temper. This is from the Rolling Stone article, titled "Make-Believe Maverick":
John Sidney McCain III has spent most of his life trying to escape the shadow of greater men. His grandfather Adm. John Sidney "Slew" McCain earned his four stars commanding a U.S. carrier force in World War II. His deeply ambitious father, Adm. "Junior" McCain, reached the same rank, commanding America's forces in the Pacific during Vietnam.
The youngest McCain was not cut from the same cloth. Even as a toddler, McCain recalls in Faith of My Fathers, his volcanic temper was on display. "At the smallest provocation," he would hold his breath until he passed out: "I would go off in a mad frenzy, and then, suddenly, crash to the floor unconscious." His parents cured him of this habit in a way only a CIA interrogator could appreciate: by dropping their blue-faced boy in a bathtub of ice-cold water.
Trailing his hard-charging, hard-drinking father from post to post, McCain didn't play well with others. Indeed, he concedes, his runty physique inspired a Napoleon complex: "My small stature motivated me to . . . fight the first kid who provoked me."
This behavior was not limited to his child years, however:
Over the years, John McCain has demonstrated a streak of anger so nasty that even his former flacks make no effort to spin it away. "If I tried to convince you he does not have a temper, you should hang up on me and ridicule me in print," says Dan Schnur, who served as McCain's press man during the 2000 campaign. Even McCain admits to an "immature and unprofessional reaction to slights" that is "little changed from the reactions to such provocations I had as a schoolboy."
McCain is sensitive about his physical appearance, especially his height. The candidate is only five-feet-nine, making him the shortest party nominee since Michael Dukakis. On the night he was elected senator in 1986, McCain exploded after discovering that the stage setup for his victory speech was too low; television viewers saw his head bobbing at the bottom of the screen, his chin frequently cropped from view. Enraged, McCain tracked down the young Republican who had set up the podium, prodding the volunteer in the chest while screaming that he was an "incompetent little shit." Jon Hinz, the director of the Arizona GOP, separated the senator from the young man, promising to get him a milk crate to stand on for his next public appearance.
Is this the kind of President you want? Someone will a well-documented Achilles' Heel, one that opposition world leaders can potentially manipulate? Plus, can you even begin to imagine what the GOP's flacks and spin-doctors would be doing with this same sort of material if Obama were as hot-blooded? They'd be playing the "angry black man" card every 15 seconds on Fox News from here until election day, just as they tried to do with Michelle Obama.
Now, to be perfectly fair... Bill Clinton was said to have a temper as well, and I think he was in many ways a fine President. But, he was obviously a man that allowed his passions to overcome his common sense as well, which led to his second term in office being dominated by discussions of spotted dresses and cigars.
Hotheaded President McCain? No thanks. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a passport to apply for - you know, before they seal the borders.
Remember to vote on Tuesday, November 4th!