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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

President Hothead
Posted by Jill | 6:25 AM
When you look at the state of the world today, do we really want a president who flies into psychotic rages every time someone looks at him the wrong way?

Cliff Schecter has a new book out that sheds a very different light on Saint John of Maverick than the one that Chris Matthews and McCain's other media groupies have been painting for the last seven years. And if you click the Amazon.com link in the left-hand sidebar and buy it, I get a few pennies too. [/shameless begging] Given that the same media which give McCain the kind of free pass that they have given George W. Bush for the past seven years has learned nothing, and promises to give the Democratic nominee a scrutiny they refuse to give McCain, this may be your only chance to find out just who this guy is. And I would hope that the Hillary Grrlz who are talking about voting for McCain if Their Girl doesn't get the nomination read this excerpt from Schecter's book before making their decision:

Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain’s intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain’s hair and said, “you’re getting a little bit thin up there.” McCain’s face reddened, and he responded, “at least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.” McCain’s excuse was that it has been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.

Now, if you're a pretty young thing like Cindy McCain was in 1992, and you're married to an aging politician like John McCain, said aging politician is going to be a bit touchy about his age. After all, if he weren't, he wouldn't have zeroed in on you in the first place. But when you're a trophy wife, your job is to keep him young, and the way to do it is NOT to point out his thinning hair. For that matter, even if you're NOT a trophy wife, it's not something you want to do unless you want him to point out your thickening middle and sags. But if this pretty young thing also comes fully equipped with $100 million dollars, as Cindy McCain did, you might want to think about unleashing this kind of torrent of invective at her.

And this is not the only incident in the life of Saint John of Maverick that shows a dangerous propensity towards disproportionate rages. Johann Hari wrote in January in the U.K. Independent:

Right up to his twenties, he remained a strikingly violent man, "ready to fight at the drop of a hat", according to his biographer Robert Timberg. This rage seems to be at the core of his personality: describing his own childhood, McCain has written: "At the smallest provocation I would go off into a mad frenzy, and then suddenly crash to the floor unconscious. When I got angry I held my breath until I blacked out."

And in 1999, an article in WaPo indicated it might be an issue in that campaign:

In a front page article and separate editorial Sunday, The Arizona Republic said it wanted the nation to know about the "volcanic" temper McCain has unleashed on several top state officials.

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.

Mrs. Hull, a supporter of GOP presidential front-runner George W. Bush, has acknowledged that her relationship with McCain has been cool and told an interviewer recently McCain "has to keep control" of his temper.

A Hull spokesman, Francie Noyes, said Sunday the governor had no further comment on the matter of McCain's temperament and that "she wants to move on to other things."

But the Arizona Republic, which endorsed McCain for each of his five congressional races but has not yet made an endorsement in the presidential race, was direct.

It declared in an editorial:

"If McCain is truly a serious contender for the presidency, it is time the rest of the nation learned about the John McCain we know in Arizona. There is also reason to seriously question whether he has the temperament, and the political approach and skills, we want in the next president of the United States."

McCain spokesman Dan Schnur said the criticism reflects McCain's emergence as a serious contender, resulting media scrutiny, and the fact that the former Vietnam POW "is a fighter and has always been a fighter."

"When a candidate moves up in the polls as quickly as John McCain has there's bound to be closer media scrutiny," Schnur said. "Show me a politician who's never offended anyone and I'll show you a politician who's pretty useless to his constituents."

Earlier in the week, McCain blamed the Bush campaign for helping plant recent temper stories and said the "hothead" portrayal was inaccurate.

"Do I insult anybody or fly off the handle or anything like that? No, I don't," insisted McCain.

When I see a history of this kind of disproportionate rage, dating back to childhood, I think of three big words: borderline personality disorder:

Anger is often one of the most obvious traits of borderline personality disorder (BPD), as so often the anger seems explode without warning and can be extremely intense.

The anger of the BP is hard to miss, as it is often an attack, meant to hurt back, and meant to defend. It seems to come from nowhere, a suddenly explosive rage. The BP may not even understand why she feels so angry, just that she feels this way.

Anger In Place Of Other Feelings

It is important to remember that anger, even the explosive anger often so evident in borderline personality disorder, is nothing more than an expression of feelings. Although the anger can seem out of synch to an observer, for the BP the anger is an honest reaction to hurts and fears. It is real.

For the BP, feelings of anger are very strong and often have a lot of old “baggage” behind them. It is not always clear to the BP, or those witnessing the anger, how the “baggage” is tied to the current target or event that triggered to interaction. However, for the BP, the old feelings, or baggage, were triggered and the current reaction is an honest display of her feelings. A display meant to protect, or defend, and to communicate.

Borderline Personality Disorder is usually seen in people who have survived some kind of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse in childhood. That can be anything from outright abuse to a lack of nurturing. In the latter case, BPD arises as a self-protective mechanism, and the rages are a way of communicating "I'll reject you before you can reject me."

When I read about McCain having rages in childhood so severe that he blacked out (which could be his way of describing the dissociation that often takes place during a borderline rage), I have to wonder about his childhood, particularly his relationship with his father, who as a military man, was probably not the most emotionally available man on the face of the earth.

I know that a tradition of military service exists in many families, with the sons following the paths of the fathers. John McCain's own son is continuing this tradition. But reading about McCain's temper, which seems to me to be consistent with BPD, makes me want to find out more about his formative years.

At any rate, I do know this much: You do NOT want someone with BPD holding the fate of the world in his hands.

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Blogger missy said...
I grew up with a mom with BPD with narcissistic tendencies, and it was bad enough having her in charge of the household (much less a country). I just spent a week with her and she's still a serious nutjob, though without kids to annoy/enrage her she's mostly harmless, and channels her nuttiness into a simulacrum of grandmotherly perfection. But if you put her in charge of anything (or simply disagree with her), she will turn into Joan Crawford/Catherine de' Medici and be on your ass with a whip in one hand and a cattle prod in the other before you can say "but, Mom..."

We've been under the thumb of a president with BPD with narcissistic tendencies for the last 7+ years - we sure as hell don't need 4 (or god forbid, 8) more.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I was married to a man with borderline personality disorder. They are absolute hell to live with. I feel sorry for Cindy McCain, despite her wealth. McCain's vile and vulgar name-calling and insults...spewed at his own wife...is something that I also lived with and it is devastating and painful.