John McCain’s Rage: The Loser in the Debate
Any old fool can start a war. It takes a real leader to stop a war before it begins.
No one else seems to be saying it, so I will. McCain was scary last night. And I don’t mean ‘scary’ in the strong-on-foreign-policy, ain’t-no-one-gonna-mess-around-with-this-guy sense of the word, but scary, as in, this guy’s like a ticking bomb, and he’s gonna blow any second.
One doesn’t need a degree in the behavioral sciences to have noticed that McCain’s body language betrayed him last night, conveying an easily-provoked rage that spiked intermittently throughout the debate. His head, in particular. At several points during the debate, such as when Obama enumerated flaws in McCain’s foreign policy record (see video), McCain’s face physically drew-up and hardened, like a coiled fist. At one point, his entire face literally rippled with rage, the muscles in his jowls hardening like marbles under his skin. His pupils grew beady and jittery — looking almost deranged — while he waited his turn to respond. And respond, he did, his voice quavering (feebleness, fury or fatigue?), his mouth curled into a snarl, his pointed tongue darting out like a serpent as he spoke.
I’ve seen this before. Anyone has, who’s ever witnessed ‘what McCain does’ when he’s crossed (see videos, below). When you hear from his Capitol Hill colleagues that McCain has a short fuse, that he’s a hot-head, this is what they’re talking about. Disagree with McCain, piss him off, and you are not only persona non grata, but you will likely find yourself in his crosshairs for the next few years. McCain is nothing, if he’s not vindictive, which makes moot any attempts to tally points between the debaters last night to see who came out on top. In both domestic and foreign policy, the clear loser was John McCain, as his rage simply got the better of him.
If the diplomatic needs of the United States were limited to only bluster and bellicosity, or to, on occasion, staring down a fellow world leader and being able to reduce the dialogue, from start to finish, into seeing 3 letters in his eyes — K.G.B. — then McCain would be our man. Were the world a schoolyard, we could, perhaps, comfortably turn loose the scrappy schoolboy with the angry little man complex, his arms and fists perpetually poised to deal a blow. But on the world stage, we need a leader whose hands are as open to exchanging a handshake as they are to displaying the strength of a hardened fist.
We need leaders of sound temperament, whose experience includes a history, past and present, of pragmatic, clear-thinking and foresight: leaders capable of nuanced thought in a world that is rarely black or white, but is nearly always a mix of the two, with myriad shades of gray in-between. We need a leader who can conduct a debate with a colleague — a fellow leader in his own country — without struggling so hard against his own personal demons, without struggling so hard to keep from detonating. For this was McCain’s fatal flaw last night: as his rage consumed him, his body language betrayed him — making hollow any claim he could verbalize on owning the character and temperament necessary to being a great president. As his rage won, John McCain lost the debate. And, in the end, it was this that defined the real difference between the two candidates: It is one thing to SAY that you own the temperament, character and good judgement to be president; it is another thing, entirely, to SHOW that you own those qualities.
Any old fool can start a war. The last thing this country needs is an old warrior whose worldview is tainted with old, unresolved rage. We do not need a leader who sees the world through the lens of a blind rage, ever on the verge of rearing its ugly head.
by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers
ABOVE: McCain grows angry, sarcastic in discussion w/George Stephanopoulos on health care in April 08
ABOVE: NBC news report in March 08, detailing McCain’s anger in exchange with reporter
ABOVE: McCain during a committee hearing with families of Vietnam MIAs, who were seeking declassification of Vietnam documents, believed to contain information on their loved ones, who never returned home from war. Body language: Although this hearing took place 15 years ago, again, we see the body language as McCain seethes and writhes with anger, taking his glasses on and off, repeatedly shoving them into his pocket. His facial expression at 5:37 on the video is not only scary, it is grossly inappropriate and unbecoming for a man serving a position of authority on the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs.
BELOW: The veterans advocacy groups and individuals leading this effort believe that John McCain stonewalled their efforts in order to avoid declassifying documents that would also reveal to the public unknown or unbecoming aspects of John McCain’s own history in Vietnam. This is discussed in the video, below, by some of those family members and veterans who have spent many years fighting to have the documents and information declassified.
BELOW: But why listen to me? Listen to what Pat Buchanan and others — including McCain, himself — were saying, just this past spring.
SEE ALSO OUR RELATED POSTS ON McCAIN:
Huffington Post: Angry Video