While the McCain campaign continues to make shallow personal attacks on Senator Barack Obama that hardly go intellectually much deeper than some suggestion that the senator is young and popular, so don't vote for him, the McCain campaign attempts to ignore the long record of irrational and ballistic behavior by own their candidate -- begging the important question of whether John McCain really has the right temperament to be president.
Simply put, is John McCain rational enough to be president?
While most of the elected members of the House and Senate are lawyers who carefully choose their words when they speak, John McCain instead has used his personal history of physical and psychological abuse as POW in Vietnam as his chief qualification in every election he has run in as his main credentials rather than an education to match his opponents or his peers. Compared to most of his Senate colleagues, McCain's Annapolis Naval Academy education is far less years of higher education than their many more years spent in some law school. Even Barack Obama was a professor of constitutional law besides being a lawyer himself.
McCain's sometimes independent temperament often got him into problems during his education at Annapolis with the higher ranking there. McCain wasn't really a great student there either, according to his class ranking which placed him at 894 out of 899 according to the life biography of McCain over at the Wikipedia website. Wikipedia also notes that McCain was a lightweight boxer who often challenged bullies who picked on the weaker classmates while in school.
But some will argue that pilots in general make for very poor candidates for president. They are too independent minded and won't listen to anyone. George McGovern was one of the youngest bomber pilots during WWII, and his independent nature was even too maverick for many in his own party, and McGovern lost millions of normally reliable Democratic voters to Richard Nixon in the 1972 election in the worst landslide loss for any Democrat ever. One joke after the election was that at least so few people voted for McGovern that he can be able to thank each one personally.
The first George Bush didn't want to hear about all of the criticism about how bad the economy had become under him and largely ignored the huge devastation of a major hurricane and lost re-election in 1992. In 1988, Bush won with 54% of the vote, but only attracted a mere 38% of the vote in 1992. Millions of voters were unhappy with him. And the son of George Bush, the current president, represents another independent minded pilot who didn't want to hear anything contrary to going to war in Iraq, and ignored calls that his war plans weren't working until after a big defeat of his party in the 2006 midterm elections.
Now John McCain is the latest independent minded pilot to want to be president, yet his erratic temperament call into question whether he isn't just yet another major train wreck just waiting to happen.
Back on July 5, 2006, the usually conservative leaning Newsmax.com ran a pretty good piece by writer Ronald Kessler entitled, McCain's Out-Of-Control Anger: Does He Have The Right Temperament To Be President? This is actually a pretty good shopping bag collection of some of the worst moments of John McCain. And Kessler summed up McCain pretty well by stating that: "As portrayed by the mainstream media, McCain is an engaging war hero, a man of political moderation positioned between the right and left. But to insiders who know him, McCain has an irrational, explosive side that make many of them question whether he is fit to serve as president and be commander in chief". This is hardly any ringing endorsement from a fairly conservative news source.
John McCain's episodes of profanity and anger while serving in both the Congress and Senate are legendary, as is his very twisted sort of mean-natured humor. But as writer Kessler pointed out, "most major news outlets aren't interested in pursuing the subject" of what McCain is really like. McCain once joked that Chelsea Clinton "was so ugly"..."because her father was Janet Reno". But actually apologized for this outburst which is rare for McCain. Sometimes McCain would have an outburst and never talk to the person ever again, even other senators within his own party in the Senate, such as Senator Bob Smith. McCain has excused his anger management problems by claiming that he is "angry at issues", but the truth is that he often turns on his own friends and issues aren't really the direction of his anger at all.
McCain has sometimes used the "F" word in the Senate while in a committee against some members of his own party, or even referred to others as "S--theads", etc. The fact of the matter is that other members of the Senate just do not behave the same way as McCain has often done. Some say that McCain lost support among the insiders of his own party in 2000 to Bush because those who knew him thought he was a "vicious guy" and disliked him.
In addition to all of this there's his nasty sense of humor aimed as hurtful humor that jokes of rape, bigotry or prejudice or the fact that that McCain twice attempted suicide as he reported to his doctors in his recently disclosed medical reports. All of this really begs more questions about whether McCain is really mentally fit and rational enough to be president. This is a difficult question that voters need to seriously answer and the McCain Campaign should be more forthcoming with any mental health records as this information is just as important if not more so, than the health records they have so far released.
The U.S. needs a president who seriously weighs when to actually use military power only when necessary and not one who sings a song parody of a Beach Boys song, "Bomb, Bomb Iran" when asked a question about the Iranian nuclear program. The U.S. has the most powerful military and nuclear arsenal in the world. Voters need to be darn sure that the person with their finger on the "red" button has good mental health and anger management. Countries like Iran are always going to do nonsense to anger the U.S., however this cannot be used as some justification to take some bold step from which there is no easy return.
Sticky situations like Vietnam and Iraq are very easy to get into, but famously difficult to exit from. There's no "I'm just kidding" excuse once U.S. troops or even worse, nuclear missiles are sent off to answer something. Kennedy was famous for the nuclear war that he avoided with the Soviet Union over the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. From what we know of John McCain's reasoning, judgment and poor anger management skills, who here could really say that McCain would be able to get the same positive outcome if he had been in the same position as president. No doubt about it, McCain is a very risky choice.
Here are some additional links to some other related stories about all of this: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/05/22/mccain/print.html
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!