Is America Really Safe with Hothead McCain?

The last days before the primary in Texas on March 4, Hillary Clinton’s campaign introduced a television video that zoomed in on Texans’ concerns over homeland security.

The first image is one of sleeping children. They sleep like little roses. A voice says that it is three o’clock at night, and that a phone rings in the White House. There is clearly something amiss in the world. The viewer sees and hears a red telephone. “Your vote,” says the speaker “decides who will pick up the phone. Someone with lots of experience and knowledge of military affairs, or not?”

Finally we see Hillary Clinton answer the phone—not in a nightgown as one would think at that hour, but in a neat brown ensemble. The message is clear. When in the coming years somewhere in the world all hell breaks lose– as it will surely happen—the future of your children is in the best hands with Hillary Clinton. Much better in any case than when Barack Obama—that rookie in the big bad world—would pick up the phone.

The video seems to have worked well for Hillary in Texas.

Dangerous tactic

Still, according to the web magazine not all Democrats were happy with this. Wasn’t this a dangerous tactic? Because, couldn’t Senator John McCain—who has in the meantime been assured of the republican nomination—be able to come up with the idea to use this video virtually unchanged during the closing rounds against Clinton or Obama? He could answer the phone himself. Who knows, even in a snow white naval uniform?

At first glance, there does not seem to be a doubt that the security of the nation is in better hands with this former naval officer, who was a prisoner of war in Hanoi for five-and-a-half years, and who has been involved with military matters in the Senate for many years, than with the two remaining Democratic candidates.


However, on the latter, there is no consensus, even in military circles. Just like each sound evokes an opposing sound, there is no lack of voices that warn against McCain’s quick temper and lack of a well-considered judgment.

“I like McCain and I respect him, but I am somewhat worried over his impulsive behavior,” says retired Major General Paul Eaton, who campaigns for Hillary Clinton. “It’s quite frightening; his initial reactions are not the best. I think that he proceeds too impulsively.”

Other military point out that the extreme anxiety of having been a prisoner of war does not necessarily lead to the development of a broad outlook.

Volcanic temperament

During McCain’s campaign for the 2000 presidency, the Arizona Republic, his home state’s newspaper wrote that the country should be warned about the volcanic temperament of McCain.

His colleagues gave him the nickname “Senator Hothead.” A name he regularly lives up to. Thus, last year he screamed against a Republican colleague who complained that McCain was absent too often during consideration of immigration legislation: “Fxxx you. I know more about this subject than anyone in this Chamber.”

“Compared to John McCain, Dick Cheney makes one think of Mahatma Gandhi,” said Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan. A fellow senator and fellow party member from Mississippi let it be known that cold chills ran down his back at the thought that McCain might become president.

The candidate does not usually stay angry for a long time. After an argument with a senator, there is usually within half-an-hour a letter of apology in his mailbox. He is aware of the danger that he is so thin-skinned. As early as 1999 McCain told the Los Angeles Times that every morning upon waking up, he calls upon himself to do everything in order to stay calm and controlled during that day.

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