As this Real Clear Politics entry notes, one result of John McCain's bursts of temper is that they "give . . . the press a chance to recycle all the stories about McCain's temper that have been sitting on the shelf since 2000."
Here's an example from the L.A. Times piece on that very issue today:
"In McCain's world, there aren't legitimate differences of opinions," said David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which differs with McCain on some issues. "There is his way and there is evil. That is how he approaches issues. That is one of the reasons for conservative nervousness about him."And, from the same story, here's an example of how the Democrats will use the issue:
"We have had eight years of cowboy diplomacy, and McCain is even more of a cowboy than the current president," said Roger Salazar, a Democratic political consultant who worked for John Edwards in 2004. "The public wants somebody who is strong but can sit across from allies and adversaries without lunging at them."Some McCain supporters have been cackling for the last 24 hours over McCain's personal attack on Mitt Romney yesterday. They think the story will reverberate around the web and the MSM for a long time and will do to Romney what Lloyd Bentsen's infamous "You're no Jack Kennedy" did to Dan Quayle in 1988.
Well, maybe. The first fact to note is that Lloyd Bentsen lost that election and Dan Quayle ended up Vice President of the United States. But more currently, McCain already has the "angry man with a mean streak" image. How does it help him to utter a nasty personal slam against Romney in response to Romney's criticism of his policy positions?
The episode clearly highlights the temperamental difference in the two men. When presented with a policy question or difference, Romney will address the substantive issue, the argument, not the man. McCain attacks the man. Ad hominem argument in its starkest form. Whatever happened to Ronald Reagan's Eleventh Commandment: "Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican?"
Which approach do the American people want? I'm betting they'll go for the sunny optimism of Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan, not the dark nastiness of John McCain and Bob Dole.