LilaTovCocktail: Ingredients: one part NE Ohio; two parts politics; two parts media, and one part each: culture, family & the Jewish community. Directions: Shake well.

Temper-mental: The many moods of John McCain


Angry, furious, pissed-off, hostile, bellicose, livid, incensed, nasty, hateful, abusive, inflamed, rude, discourteous ....

The online evidence is overwhelming: live footage and reliable anecdotes about McCain's angry outbursts -- and not just that, the abusive way in which he expresses that anger.
**Please read the accuracy update below!**

Today's Daily Beast carries a story by Michael Kinsely about McCain's ugly outburst at a craps table in Puerto Rico. When in the course of the game, McCain broke protocol by keeping his hands underneath the table during the throw of the dice, another player, "a small middle-aged woman at the table... reached out and pulled McCain’s arm away. "

McCain went ballistic. He

“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.... ‘DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO?’ McCain['s] hands [were] now raised in the ‘bring it on’ position. He was red-faced."
That image of McCain is reinforced by the YouTube video John McCain's Rage is a National Security Concern. This short documentary interviews a former Senator, the former executive dir. of the Arizona Republican Party, numerous military leaders, the sister of a Vietnam POW/MIA, and the former editor of the Arizona Republican.

Other Republican leaders have expressed concern about his temper (hattip to Bodhipaksa):

The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me.”
Senator Thad Cochran, R-MS

“I decided I didn’t want this guy anywhere near a trigger.”
Senator Pete Domenici, R-NM

“He is a vicious person. Nearly all the Republican Senators endorsed Bush because they knew McCain from serving with him in the Senate. They so disliked him that they wouldn’t support him. They have been on the hard end of his behavior.”
Former Representative Charles LeBoutillier, R-NY

“His temper would place this country at risk in international affairs, and the world perhaps in danger. In my mind, that should disqualify him.”
Former Senator Bob Smith, R-NH

“What happens if he gets angry in crisis in the presidency? ... It’s the president’s job to negotiate and stay calm. I just don’t see that he has that quality.”
Former Arizona GOP Chairman John Hinz

And that's what his friends say about him! But you don't have to take their word for it: you can watch McCain explode first hand in videos posted on YouTube like this one: (caveat: see Update below)

This one shows him raging at a New York Times reporter:

Update! These videos are indeed both faked, as Bodhipaksa commented. The description of the clips from whoever posted them on YouTube ends, "So just so the idiots are happy, its satire. THIS IS A JOKE PEOPLE!"

Bodhipaksa found an unbleeped version of the McCain video which shows that the "censored" version is heavily faked. You can see the original here.

The documentary John McCain's Rage is a National Security Concern is real, however. So is the story from Daily Beast and the quotes from Republican politicians about McCain's temper, so far as anyone knows.

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Bodhipaksa October 10, 2008 at 3:16 PM  

Thanks for the hat-tip! Just a word about the first of those videos. While McCain's anger is real I believe the swearing isn't. I've been given to understand (vague passive-voice crap for "I read some comments on a blog somewhere") that the bleeps don't actually cover up the f-word and that the subtitles are inaccurate. I couldn't find an "uncensored" version of the video. You might want to check that out.

Bodhipaksa October 10, 2008 at 3:17 PM  

I meant "second" rather than "first."

LilaTovCocktail October 10, 2008 at 8:29 PM  

Thanks, Bodhipaksa. I was so happy I found your blog & all those excellent quotes.

I did watch the second clip again, and appreciate the warning. I have to say that the subtitles and bleeps seem credible to me -- or at least not obviously collaged together. The anger is certainly there in McCain's body language and the fact that a second photog/journalist behind McCain hears the conversation and comes around behind him to document it suggests to me that there was *something* intense going on...

But if you happen to again come across the place where the authenticity of the footage was questioned, please send me the URL, OK?

Bodhipaksa October 13, 2008 at 9:18 AM  

I found an unbleeped version of the McCain video and I'm afraid the "censored" version is heavily faked. There's no swearing in the original and McCain comes across more as (perhaps) justifiably angry rather plain nasty. You can see the original here:

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