Jewish World Review Jan. 19, 2004 / 25 Teves, 5764

Neil Cavuto

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Consumer Reports

What's wrong with having a temper? | So Howard Dean has a temper. I wouldn't know closely following the guy. But apparently many of his Democratic opponents make a big deal over it. Frankly, I don't see what all the fuss is about. I mean, is a temper a bad thing?

Look, I'm half-Italian and half-Irish. I figure I was born with a temper. My Irish mother used to joke and let her more "cerebral" side prevail. Oftentimes, it didn't. But that's not my point here; this fuss about Dean's temper is.

I think we need people with tempers. Tempers are good. Tempers show passion. Tempers show commitment to a cause and a determination to go after those who will block your cause. There's everything wrong with getting angry for nothing; there is nothing wrong with getting angry for something.

Believe me, I am far from square on Dean's political positions . . . some, like rescinding the president's tax cuts, are out to lunch. His view on the Iraq war, to me at least, seems naive. But I do admire the guy for passionately believing these things, or at least looking like he passionately believes these things. He shouts at President Bush. He shouts about Iraq. He shouts about the economy. He shouts about people who say he shouldn't shout.

Opponents love to capitalize on a guy with a temper because they think they know how to push his buttons or get him to snap. I know I sound crazy here, but I love it when candidates snap, when they show what really gets their goat.

I know it was a small thing, but remember when the first President Bush made a big stink about how he hated broccoli? I loved it! It was the first time I saw this guy get really passionate about something.

The same with Ronald Reagan some years earlier when he was campaigning for the presidency and made a big stink out of who could and couldn't talk at a New Hampshire Republican debate, funded in part by the candidates themselves. "I paid for this microphone!" he shouted, and the rest was kind of history.

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I remember the story as well about Bill Clinton losing it with economic advisers in the first few weeks of his administration, when, in an effort to appease the financial markets, his aides were calling for strict deficit-control measures. "I guess we're all Eisenhower Republicans," he allegedly snapped.

Lyndon Johnson used to throw things at television images of Walter Cronkite. Jack Kennedy went apoplectic when reluctant Southern governors weren't toeing his non-segregation line. And who can forget how Harry Truman ripped into a reviewer of his daughter's singing abilities by vowing when he was done with him, he might need some support "down below." Or how our current president ripped a certain New York Times reporter during the campaign, calling him a major league #%$#%$. These very human, often very in-your-face confrontations don't make me think less of these guys. They make me think more of them.

Sometimes candidates and politicians are so packaged, so restrained, so vanilla, that you don't get any real idea if they have any real concern. Showing a temper, maybe even throwing in a curse word or two, conveys passion and anger . . . real emotions in an often illusory world. I say, shout it, curse it, throw it and have at it. We could all do a lot worse than have the guys who want to be our leaders get a lot more passionate.

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Neil Cavuto is managing editor of Business News at FOX News Channel. He is also the host of "Your World with Neil Cavuto" and "Cavuto on Business." Comment by clicking here.


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© 2003, Neil Cavuto