Saturday, September 27, 2008

McCain's One Angry Man

"As a psychotherapist and someone who treats people with anger management problems, we typically try to educate people that anger is often an emotion that masks other emotions. I think it's significant that McCain didn't make much, if any, eye contact because it suggests one of two things to me; he doesn't want to make eye contact because he is prone to losing control of his emotions if he deals directly with the other person, or, his anger masks fear and the eye contact may increase or substantiate the fear."

The above is from a comment at Talking Points Memo. McCain's explosive temper, his suppressed anger, his contempt for disagreement, his impulsiveness, should be a bigger issue. Sure, Americans are angry, and perhaps they identify with him for this reason. But voters ought to consider whether they want a president who acts on his angry impulses or uses them strategically.

Here's a very worrying glimpse of the McCain we didn't see last night. A very calculated use of anger. A Nixonian tactic. It's from a gun rights group's website:

"President Bush's chief of staff, Andrew H. "Andy" Card, Jr. has observed Senator John McCain's notorious outbursts of anger first-hand, Card said in his first extensive interview since leaving the White House.

"Referring to the Republican front-runner for president, Card said, "Sometimes he was pretty angry, but I felt as if he was putting on a show. I don't know if it was an emotional eruption or for effect."

"In a July 5 article, former Senator Bob Smith, a New Hampshire Republican who served with McCain on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, "I have witnessed incidents where he has used profanity at colleagues and exploded at colleagues.... He would disagree about something and then explode.

""It was incidents of irrational behavior. We've all had incidents where we have gotten angry, but I've never seen anyone act like that."

"McCain's outbursts often erupted when other members rebuffed his requests for support during his bid in 2000 for the Republican nomination for president, the story said.

""He had very few friends in the Senate," said former Senator Smith, who dealt with McCain almost daily. "He has a lot of support around the country, but I don't think he has a lot of support from people who know him well."

"McCain has alternately denied he is given to outbursts of anger and admitted he struggles to control his anger. The March 20 Baltimore Sun quoted McCain as saying, "... for someone to say that McCain became just angry and yelled or even raised my voice or -- it's just not true."

"Interviewed in the living room of his northern Virginia home, Andy Card said he thought McCain could turn his anger on or off. McCain would say, "I don't want to deal with you anymore, or I don't want to deal with this topic anymore, or I don't want to deal with this subject or whatever."

"Card said McCain would seem to "flip the switch and turn [his anger] off. It was less with me, and more what I was observing [at meetings]." "

In last night's debate the anger was turned off, but it was there.

Here's an article from the Washington Post which raised the issue in April. It's barely been raised since.

The question we need to ask: McCain has kept the angry man in the closet for a few months, but will he stay there? And if President McCain receives a three A.M. phone call, which McCain will answer?

This story I read this morning reminds me why we should vote for cooler, calmer leadership. Not some "heroic", impulsive hothead. You might want to ask friends to think about this too.


Blogger BurrDeming said...

Interesting take.

John McCain suffered unimaginably in service to the rest of us. When his sacrifices are denigrated or ignored by those who never endured such treatment, his anger is understandable. As in this case.

5:43 PM  
Blogger pasquino said...

I think we agree about some things. But please entertain this thought, which doesn't disrespect the man's sacrifice. We can honor the hero without electing him president. There were other heroes of that war, others who were more heroic in captivity and in combat, who I wouldn't elect president. Impulsiveness, anger, vindictiveness, self-righteousness, intolerance of argument, contempt, impatience, contradiction, all can be understood without making one qualified to lead the nation. John McCain has done good in his life, but I am afraid of what he might do as president.

8:00 PM  

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