It is hardly uncommon for a man of personal charm also to be personally pugnacious, and McCain's temper is legendary. We at the [Orang County] Register experienced it in an editorial board meeting some years ago when the senator blew his stack over some issue so minor we have forgotten what it was. Matt Welch illustrates with a number of examples that McCain is most likely to explode when a criticism can be taken as a personal affront (which he does more readily than most) and, most significantly, contains a strong element of truth. He also shows that from an early age McCain was frequently looking for a fight, eager to show he was a tough guy.That's at least the third testimonial I've seen from ed board members who recall McCain just going apeshit on them for no good reason at all (usually involving a perceived slight on his or his family's honor). Interestingly, all three were from ed boards politically right of the journalistic center.
Here's my open letter to the nation's ed boards from January.
Yes, this website needs some serious updating. Let's start by linking to some of the television appearances I've made lately.
This is a picture of me taken by the funny and talented New York photographer Robin Holland on Friday, just after I taped the Bill Moyers Journal, which aired later that day. Video here, transcript here, mini-profile of me here.
Here's five minutes of me yakking about the New York Times' lousy attempt at scandal-mongering, which nonetheless brought up an interesting (if not very new) point about McCain's figuratively steamy relationship with lobbyists. Note the sweet Reason.tv robot-dance bumper music.
Here's me (in bits) having a bad hair day on Al-Jazeera (in the 3-4 minute area), which certainly was an interesting experience:
Here's me on Bloggingheads with the charming moral philosopher Will Wilkinson, talking for a full hour:
Here's me on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now with Amy Goodman, in three parts! Transcript here.
This is a condensed version of an hour-plus book forum I did at the behest of the nice folks at Cato; unfortunately I didn't give them my best performance. Full video (including a comical trash-Welch performance by political hack Lance Tarrance, Jr.) available at fora TV; here's a snippet:
This website is going to get its groove back over the next couple of weeks, and then be a Force of Nature. Things sure have changed since Oct. 16, 2007....
Watch from 3:01 to 2:44 in this video. The part where John McCain says, in a March interview with ABC's Terry Moran (about how he's on the comeback trail!), that: "If you look at my positions on literally every issue, I haven't changed. I'm no different from what I was. And that's a tiny bit frustrating to me that this portrayal, well, he's pandered to this or done that."
Now, read this article. Excerpt:
Sen. John McCain has quietly been piling up flip-flops, including ditching his long-held support for the Law of the Sea convention and telling bloggers he now opposes the DREAM Act to legalize illegal alien students. [...]Chapter 11 of the book is called "The Crooked Talk Express."
"I would probably vote against it in its present form," he told bloggers last week during a conference call. [...]
Mr. McCain's support for the sea treaty stretched back to the 1990s, when he signed a letter with three other senators urging its passage, and continued through 2003, when he was scheduled to testify on its behalf before a Senate committee.
But after the rest of the Republican presidential field took a stand against the treaty this month, Mr. McCain had little choice but to change, conservatives said. [...]
A McCain campaign operative said the senator rethought his position on the treaty over the past year, and concluded it contains threats to sovereignty.
The operative, speaking on the condition of anonymity, couldn't say why those threats weren't apparent before, though in his conference call Mr. McCain told the bloggers he is worried about global warming and the international race to claim the Arctic.
Mr. McCain — who has been a supporter and even a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — also said during the conference call that he would have opposed it on the Senate floor last week if he had stuck around for the vote.
Robert Draper, author of the new Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush, and also of one of my favorite journalism books (Rolling Stone Magazine: The Uncensored History), spent a year off and on tailing the John McCain camp, especially attached-at-the-hip co-author Mark Salter, and writes about it for GQ.
It's a good and interesting piece, though it plays into the well-worn conceit that the real McCain is the rough-hewn, straight-taom/archives/foreign_policy/">Foreign Policy