A couple of months ago, Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, one of John McCain’s conservative Republican colleagues and a man who’s worked with McCain for years, raised serious doubts about McCain’s temperament. “The thought of him being president sends a cold chill down my spine,” Cochran said. “He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me.”
The number of examples to bolster these concerns keeps going up.Not surprisingly, after the speech last week at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, McCain’s campaign could not talk enough about international cooperation—what McCain had called a “new compact.” “He has such a deep relationship with so many Europeans and those in other regions, including Asia and the Middle East,” said one adviser, Rich Williamson, who added that McCain has kept up his global profile by “going each year to the Munich Security Conference.”As Newsweek noted, this didn’t amount to an international incident, and “the Germans later said all was forgiven.” It was, however, just McCain being McCain. He’s an equal-opportunity hothead, berating Republicans, Democrats, the powerful, the powerless, and anyone who annoys him in this country or any other.
It was all very reassuring. There’s just one problem: John McCain doesn’t always behave according to his own statesmanlike script. In fact, while attending that same Munich conference in 2006, the Arizona senator had another one of what have come to be known as McCain Moments. In a small meeting at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, McCain was conferring with Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the foreign minister of Germany — one of America’s most important allies — when the others heard McCain erupt. He thought the German was being insufficiently tough on the brutal regime in Belarus. Raising his voice at Steinmeier — who’s known for speaking in unclear diplomatese — McCain “started shaking and rising out of his chair,” said one participant, a former senior diplomatic official who related the anecdote on condition of anonymity. “He said something like: ‘I haven’t come to Munich to hear this kind of crap’.”
McCain’s old pal Joe Lieberman jumped in. “Lieberman, who reads him very well, put his hand on McCain’s arm and said gently, ‘John, I think there’s been a problem in the translation.’ Of course Lieberman doesn’t speak German and there hadn’t been any problem in the translation … It was just John’s explosive temper.”
Just the kind of guy we want leading the most powerful military on the planet during a time of war, right?
Monday, March 31, 2008
Crooks and Liars: