McCain’s temper matters

Republicans know they’re in for trouble when the first two words of an AP profile of their candidate for president are “Temper, temper.”

John McCain’s temper is legendary. Now, as McCain assumes the mantle of the head of the GOP, it’s becoming common knowledge.

The New York Times also examined the notorious McCain temper this weekend:

One of the trademarks of Mr. McCain’s rebel image has been his inability to cloak his emotions, especially anger. He has been prone to volcanic blowups over the years. And while he would hardly be the first president with a temper, Mr. McCain has been ever vigilant of late about resisting provocation.

Can he be vigilant til election day?

Back in 1964, the Republicans said of their candidate, Barry Goldwater, “In your heart, you know he’s right.” The Democrat’s response was “In your guts, you know he’s nuts.”

The 2008 version of that statement for Republicans (a little more politically correct) is that in their hearts, they think McCain’s wrong. And, in their guts and in their own experiences, Republicans know McCain is, let’s say, volatile and unstable.

Matt Yglesias nails why this matters. It’s not just about screaming obscenities at other Senators, which, as Yglesias notes is “a faux pas that can be overcome with an apology after the fact.” But, here’s the real issue with McCain’s temper:

Those same instincts could, however, be a major problem if applied to the DMZ in Korea or the Taiwan Straits.

Or any other hot spot around the world.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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