Will McCain’s temper hurt him?
The Washington Post published a story questioning whether John McCain’s temper would affect his run for president, said Soren Dayton in the blog Red State, but the "warmed over" incidents it examined were hardly news. Even some Republicans worry
The Washington Post published a story on its front page over the weekend questioning whether John McCain’s temper would affect his run for president. The story looked back at McCain’s public outbursts dating back to high school, and included criticism from several Senate colleagues who have scuffled with the presumptive Republican nominee. McCain, speaking on ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos, said many of the incidents recounted “are totally untrue, completely exaggerated.” The main point, he said, is “I feel passionately about issues.” (Chicago Tribune’s The Swamp blog)
What the commentators said
This is news? said Soren Dayton in the blog Red State. The Post’s “naval gazing story” is full of either “warmed over” or already “widely reported” incidents. That’s not journalism, and certainly “not front-page worthy.” If “McCain were to blow up on a voter or a reporter or a colleague on the trail,” the Post would have something to report. “But it hasn’t happened.”
Actually, “a wide variety of Republicans have expressed concerns about McCain’s temperament for years,” said Steve Benen in The Carpetbagger Report blog, and some military officers have, too. It’s surprising, in fact, that the story has “gone largely unreported” in this campaign. The “well documented” Post story shows that McCain is not merely a “hothead,” but also at times “spiteful, petty, and borderline violent.” He has even exploded in international settings. “Is this really the character trait the U.S. needs in a leader during a war?”
“McCain’s temper is a legitimate area of scrutiny,” certainly, said Ed Morrissey in the blog Hot Air. But he “has never shown himself as irrational in his anger,” and he hasn’t had any “recent eruptions” for the media to dine on. And if his temper “doesn’t erupt, the Post will only run this article once.” Even if he does lose his temper, though, it may not hurt him politically. “People understand and relate to anger,” and “voters might respond better to a man who gets angry rather than contain himself in Madison Avenue packaging 24/7.”
Well, one kind of voter will: “white men,” said Nora Ephron in The Huffington Post. In an year when white males will decide the election—with a black man or a woman on the Democratic side, “the outcome of the general election will depend on whether enough of them vote for McCain”—the GOP standard-bearer’s temper will hardly be a problem. “A lot of white men have terrible tempers, and what’s more, they think it’s normal and sort of attractive.”
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