Jewish World Review Jan. 19, 2004 / 25 Teves, 5764
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
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
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.
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.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington
and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
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.
01/12/04: When the applause stops
01/05/04: 2003 The year of the optimist
12/22/03: Nothing succeeds . . . like success
12/15/03: When the boss takes your call
12/08/03: The day I realized my daughter had grown up
12/01/03: Let's give thank$
11/24/03: Camelot . . . not
11/17/03: Cordially speaking, I hate you!
11/03/03: I can't "wait" to get back at you!
10/27/03: What would we die to know?
10/20/03: Smile while you work
10/13/03: Dull man walking: Why Gray was too gray
10/05/03: Who says we're so depressed?
09/29/03: Thanks, but no thanks
09/22/03: Big Companies vs. Big Government
09/15/03: Terrorists and idiots: Financial lessons learned
09/08/03: Watch out, Mr. President
09/03/03: Tips for Empty Nesters
08/25/03: Friends and hypocrites
08/18/03: When good news goes bad
08/11/03: I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER!
08/04/03: PHONY BALONEY!
07/28/03: The meaning of a pin
07/21/03: We are what we eat
07/14/03: Don't like it, don't keep it!
07/07/03: The check, and the recovery, is in the mail!
06/29/03: Who says Al's our pal?
06/23/03: The big pitch for the "big get," no big deal!
© 2003, Neil Cavuto