John McCain is chocked full electoral liabilities. The fact that he said “Fuck you” to John Cornyn isn’t one of them. Even I think it’s awesome.
There’s a couple problems with the idea — for one, people LOVE people with tempers. Most of us have pretty bad ones ourselves. I was leaving Las Vegas and accidentally got on a freeway that put me right back in Las Vegas 40 minutes later and I punched a crack in my windshield, which my friends and girlfriend think is adorable. We make superheroes out of people with bad tempers, like the Hulk or the crazy news guy in Network that the entire progressive community has made into a folk hero while attacking John McCain for his temper out of the other side of its mouth. If we can get John McCain to appear like his temper is SOOO bad that he’s crazy, then we really have something, but unfortunately if you don’t get to that point you just make him more likable along the way. Here’s my very unscientific graph of this concept:
And therein lies the rub. There might be a couple things that could make it work — for example if you can drive the ideas that John McCain is both super rich and has a bad temper (thus making him into Tina Brown in The Devil Wears Prada) you go from guy with righteous rage to rich guy who yells at people, which is way more promising. For that to work best, it’s ideal to have him making a subordinate cry. My lazy googling finds no such luck, just things like this, from 1999.
Those who have been on the receiving end of a McCain uproar include Republican Gov. Jane Hull, former Republican Gov. Rose Mofford and former Democratic Mayor Paul Johnson of Phoenix.
So if we add in Cornyn, plus the alleged fistfight with Rick Renzi, we have McCain getting enraged and furious with four Republicans and one Democrat, and powerful ones at that. This might add 5 points to the bad temper department and at least 600 to the maverick department, which is really a shame since McCain clearly does have a horrible temper and has proven his mavericky streak to have been a minor detour on the traditional Republican road to power. Point is, the temper narrative’s a mess, and there are plenty that aren’t.
Like the fact that John McCain really doesn’t care about our veterans. His 6 years of honorable military service as a soldier stand in stark contrast to 21 years of disservice to our armed forces as a Senator. Indeed, his army service earned him the Bronze Star, but his service in the Senate earned him the 2nd worst rating of all members of the House and Senate from Disabled American Veterans. Like the fact that he cares about OEF/OIF vets enough to not give them full education benefits for a full four-year term.
That something to go for. This temper thing, on the other hand, almost makes me like him more.