Saturday, September 20, 2008

The "Petulant, Irritable Grouch"

"He's a petulant, irritable grouch" ... Quick - Who could that be? I bet you don't need three guesses.

It was said about John McCain, in particular the tone of his response to the Wall Street crisis, by Steve McMahon on MSNBC's excellent Race to the White House with David Gregory yesterday.

McMahon may be a Democratic strategist, but his characterization has an unmistakable ring of truth. In addition to being funny, it gets at a serious difference in temperament between the two Presidential candidates. Obama has been cool, unruffled in the face of this crisis, sounding much like FDR in saying one of the most important things is not to panic, not succumb to financial fear. In contrast, McCain has been petty and carping, preferring to take shots against Obama.

Obama indeed raised the question of John McCain's temperament in his address at the Democratic convention. It's something that is not talked about often enough. But it gets precisely at what we most want in the person with a hand on who knows how many triggers in the White House. That would not be a "petulant, irritable grouch," even if that candidate did not have a record of poor judgment in just about every economic and foreign policy issue facing our country.
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