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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 23, 2008 / 17 Nissan 5768

McCain's anger management

By Michael Gerson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It is a tribute to John McCain's remarkable political luck that the issue of his temper should arise just as the Democratic contest has reached a stage of red-faced, ear-steaming mutual contempt. It was former president Bill Clinton, not McCain, who recently lost his cool during a meeting with California superdelegates. In a finger-pointing rage over Gov. Bill Richardson's endorsement of Barack Obama, Clinton claimed, "Five times to my face [Richardson] said that he would never do that." The San Francisco Chronicle reported that one attendee called it "one of the worst political meetings I have ever attended."


All of which undermines the most incendiary point made against McCain. In the course of a recent article in The Post on McCain's history of anger management issues, former New Hampshire senator Robert Smith claims that McCain's "temper would place this country at risk in international affairs, and the world perhaps in danger." The argument seems to be: McCain will get ticked off and invade Iran — or maybe, on a bad day, Canada. But Bill Clinton's famous purple rages did not translate into foreign policy aggressiveness or irresponsibility. History shows that the petty can be peaceful — and that men of irenic temperament can be forced to war.


But the McCain campaign's response to the Post article was that the candidate's "temper is no greater than the average person's" and that the article is "99 percent fiction."


I'd bet on less than that.


McCain, after all, has contributed to the legend of his own temper — using it as evidence of his fierce independence. His 1999 autobiography relates how, as an angry 2-year-old, he would hold his breath until he lost consciousness — the kind of family lore with the ring of truth. He seems to take pride in the wild defiance of his high school and college years. And McCain's contempt for his captors at the Hanoi Hilton is worthy of legend.


McCain's colleagues in Congress do recount rough treatment. Having spent years as a Senate staffer, I can report that it is not common for one member to tell another "[expletive] you" — as McCain did to Sen. John Cornyn during the immigration debate. And McCain himself, in more reflective moments, understands this weakness. "I have a temper, to state the obvious," he wrote in a 2002 memoir, "which I have tried to control with varying degrees of success because it does not always serve my interest or the public's."


So what difference does this make? Despite these emotional eruptions, McCain has managed to retain a loyal staff and work on legislation across the aisle.


But temperament is not irrelevant in a leader. A pronounced trait such as anger puts a particular burden on a political figure's inner circle of friends and advisers. They can choose to moderate and channel a leader's tendencies or feed those faults for their own purposes. Aides to Richard Nixon gained favor by stoking his paranoia. Some of Bill Clinton's staff enabled his self-indulgence and recklessness.


In at least one instance, McCain's temper seems to have clouded his judgment. In February 2000, after being criticized by religious conservatives, McCain gave a very angry speech in Virginia attacking leaders of the religious right as "agents of intolerance," comparing them to Louis Farrakhan, accusing them of having "turned good causes into businesses," calling them "corrupting influences on religion and politics" who "shame our faith, our party and our country." It was a tantrum disguised as a campaign event. Key advisers around McCain enflamed this pointless anger instead of dousing it. These days, Sen. Joe Lieberman — one of the most decent and temperate men in Washington — apparently is playing the role of McCain's fire marshal.


On the evidence of the Virginia speech, McCain's worst temptation is not anger but arrogance. Opponents are not merely wrong; they are self-interested and corrupt. In a righteous cause, McCain can be self-righteous.


But this weakness, as is often the case in politics, is inseparable from McCain's political appeal. Recent weeks have raised the question: Can the detached, intellectual Barack Obama draw clear lines of outrage on the anti-American rhetoric or violent radicalism of some of his associates? When it comes to the largest matters — public officials who violate the public trust or enemies who threaten America — no one can accuse McCain of insufficient moral outrage.


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on Michael Gerson's column by clicking here.



Previously:


04/10/08: A Country for Old Men
03/06/08: Does the America Need a Hug?
03/06/08: Obama's First 100 Days
02/29/08: Words Aren't Cheap
02/22/08: He Said, They Said
02/20/08: Dying silently in Zimbabwe
02/15/08: Hillary's Unappealing Path
02/13/08: NATO's Afghan Stumbles
02/08/08: Why McCain Endures
02/06/08: One surge that led to another
02/01/08: In North Korea, Process Over Progress
01/30/08: Compassionate to the end


© 2008, WPWG

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