Kerrey: McCain’s anger always had a purpose

posted at 4:45 pm on April 21, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The netroots have another reason to turn on Bob Kerrey, former Senator and refusenik for a return to the arena. Just when their McCain Insane meme had started to develop legs, Kerrey disputes the characterization of the confrontation between John McCain and Charles Grassley in 1992. Further, Kerrey says that McCain’s temper is not irrational and always serves a genuine purpose:

McCain and Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley got into such a furious argument in a closed-door meeting in 1992, Post reporter Michael Leahy wrote, that Kerrey had to step in and prevent fisticuffs.

Not so says Kerrey, the former Nebraska senator and president of New York’s New School.

“First, I did nothing to intervene; the two Senators worked it out on their own,” Kerrey wrote in a comment posted this morning under his name at 7:45. “Second, the subject of the debate – the status of Americans held as prisoner in Vietnam – was one that always provoked violent, ugly debates.”

The two senators were both “extremely angry,” Kerrey adds, but McCain was “at no time threatening.”

Kerrey, a Democrat and Hillary Clinton backer, concludes: “My experience is that [McCain's] anger always has a purpose and in this case the purpose was to defeat Senator Grassley’s argument which he did decisively.”

This looks bad for Michael Leahy. Kerrey has no particular reason to pull McCain’s chestnuts out of the fire, so he’s not fulfilling an agenda for McCain or against the Post. Furthermore, one has to wonder why Leahy didn’t confirm the story with Kerrey before running it on page 1 of the Washington Post. Don’t journalists try to check with witnesses they themselves note in their own anecdotes before publication? Thats’ Job One for fact-checkers — one of the reasons the media considers itself superior to blogs.

It also should take considerable steam out of the entire meme. The Grassley incident, with its supposed physical nature, was the worst of the bunch Leahy reported. Now that Kerrey says that Leahy got it wrong, it leaves all the rest under question as well. Without it, it just shows McCain as someone who can get heated in debates, hardly a singularity on Capitol Hill in any year.

Democrats wanted Kerrey to return to Nebraska to run as a high-profile candidate to replace the retiring Republican Chuck Hagel. After considering it for a while, he declined, preferring to remain at the New School in New York instead. Some Democrats are going to wish he’d just kept his mouth shut after killing off another attack strategy against their general-election bete noir.


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So what if he did get riled occasionally? I’d rather have a leader with a little fight in them anyway. It makes Hillary and Barry look like pansies.

natesnake on April 21, 2008 at 4:52 PM

Especially if the topic of conversation was about American POWs.

McCain should have decked the pr!ck.

natesnake on April 21, 2008 at 4:54 PM

Kerrey is a hack. The only reason he got as far as he did, politically, was because when he was govenor of Nebraska, he dated Debra Winger. People in Nebraska thought it was sweet and reminded them of the days of “Camalot”. His performace on the 9-11 panel was atrocious. He also associated with Norman Hsu. He was out of his league.

Hagel is being run out of the Senate by Conservatives from Nebraska. The Nebraska Republican Party heard a ton of negative feedback when Hagel started bad mouthing Bush and the Military in regard to the war in Iraq.

PappaMac on April 21, 2008 at 4:55 PM

Looks like the Dems will put him on the same list as Zell and Joe.

Limerick on April 21, 2008 at 4:55 PM

So telling John Cornyn to “F Off” because he criticized McCain’s amnesty bill “had a purpose?”

THe idea that John McCain does not have a temper and an anger management problem is silly to most people who have followed politics the past 25 years.

EJDolbow on April 21, 2008 at 4:58 PM

I do want someone with a little fire in the belly, which is where Fred Thompson, my first choice, lost the nomination.

PappaMac on April 21, 2008 at 4:59 PM

I guess all of that working across the isle isn’t such a bad thing after all. First Lanny Davis comes to the rescue after the Grey Lady smeared him, and now the WaPo gets refuted by Kerry. Now that Gotti is dead, I have to steal the nickname. We have now a TEFLON JOHN!!!

THE CHOSEN ONE on April 21, 2008 at 5:02 PM

As you can see…

McCain can Unite America…(If anyone can claim to)

He has friends in both parties and works with both sides.

Obama is an extremist from from one side that doesn’t work with the other, and talks trash constantly about the other side. (How is that going to Unite anything?)

Obama, Tom Coburn is no better than an unrepentant terrorist

Chakra Hammer on April 21, 2008 at 5:02 PM

Okay, folks, you try screaming “f*** you!” at your colleagues in corporate America and see where it gets you. You try screaming, “If I tell you to do it, you better god**** do it!”. even if you are in senior management, and see how far you go.

McCain’s temper issue is an issue of 1) ego and 2) stability.
I don’t like it. And while I really hate to have to say this, if the candidate were female the temper issue would be a deal-killer from Day One.

McCain has to display himself during the general election. I am waiting to see how it goes.

BigD on April 21, 2008 at 5:02 PM

BigD on April 21, 2008 at 5:02 PM

Cheney has anger problems also then, and he’s VP..

Chakra Hammer on April 21, 2008 at 5:05 PM

Was McCain eating waffles when the arguement broke out?

Pam on April 21, 2008 at 5:09 PM

Here is a 2006 article in News Max (not a liberal outfit) about McCain’s temper.

http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/7/5/00548.shtml?s=lh

EJDolbow on April 21, 2008 at 5:09 PM

You try screaming, “If I tell you to do it, you better god**** do it!”. even if you are in senior management, and see how far you go.

Works for Steve Ballmer and Steve Jobs, and no doubt countless others.

The deal killer will be if McCain holds his arms on his hips in a menacing manner.

pedestrian on April 21, 2008 at 5:09 PM

Post reporter Michael Leahy wrote, that Kerrey had to step in and prevent fisticuffs.

Cheney said to Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont…

Go yourself

Chakra Hammer on April 21, 2008 at 5:11 PM

Kerrey: McCain’s anger always had a purpose

Yah Bob, like this purpose for example?

John Cornyn (Republican – Texas – America): Wait a second here, I’ve been sitting in here for all of these negotiations and you just parachute in here on the last day. You’re out of line.

John McCain (RINO – LaRaza – Mexico): F##k you!!! I know more about this than anyone else in the room!!!

McCain helped craft a bill in 2006 [McCain/Kennedy, aka shamnesty banana kumquat that passed the [quisling] Senate but couldn’t be compromised with a House bill that was much tougher on illegal immigrants.

Hey Bob Kerrey, were you for shamnesty by any chance?

Hey again, Bob Kerrey, did you talk to your Senate colleagues that way?

MB4 on April 21, 2008 at 5:11 PM

Okay, folks, you try screaming “f*** you!” at your colleagues in corporate America and see where it gets you. You try screaming, “If I tell you to do it, you better god**** do it!”. even if you are in senior management, and see how far you go.

Hate to tell you this, but I’ve seen both in every corporate management structure I’ve ever experienced. It usually gets results.

Ed Morrissey on April 21, 2008 at 5:11 PM

Works for Steve Ballmer and Steve Jobs, and no doubt countless others.

pedestrian on April 21, 2008 at 5:09 PM

They are dictators, not elected representatives with control of the most powerful military in the history of the world.

EJDolbow on April 21, 2008 at 5:11 PM

Chakra Hammer on April 21, 2008 at 5:02 PM

He has had bipartisan support.

Pam on April 21, 2008 at 5:12 PM

In fact, the most embarrassing example took place when I refused to allow my admin assistant to be “borrowed” indefinitely by another manager. He swore, cried, insulted, but I wouldn’t budge. I kept my admin assistant, and the other manager is still with the company.

Ed Morrissey on April 21, 2008 at 5:13 PM

Okay, folks, you try screaming “f*** you!” at your colleagues in corporate America and see where it gets you. You try screaming, “If I tell you to do it, you better god**** do it!”. even if you are in senior management, and see how far you go.

BigD on April 21, 2008 at 5:02 PM

Hate to tell you this, but I’ve seen both in every corporate management structure I’ve ever experienced. It usually gets results.

Ed Morrissey on April 21, 2008 at 5:11 PM

I have never seen any of that. Not even in the Army. Not even in kindergarten.

MB4 on April 21, 2008 at 5:17 PM

Geezzzzzzzzzzzzz….you would think, from reading the comments, that McCain=Dr Strangelove. Maybe he’ll wave Slim Picken’s hat in the air while he’s pushing the button.

Limerick on April 21, 2008 at 5:18 PM

I have never seen any of that. Not even in the Army. Not even in kindergarten.

MB4 on April 21, 2008 at 5:17 PM

Actually in the Army it might well have gotten you fraged.

MB4 on April 21, 2008 at 5:19 PM

Okay, folks, you try screaming “f*** you!” at your colleagues in corporate America and see where it gets you. You try screaming, “If I tell you to do it, you better god**** do it!”. even if you are in senior management, and see how far you go.

BigD on April 21, 2008 at 5:02 PM

Hate to tell you this, but I’ve seen both in every corporate management structure I’ve ever experienced. It usually gets results.

Ed Morrissey on April 21, 2008 at 5:11 PM

The results that anyone talking to me, or anyone I can think of that I have ever know, would be “I quit, you Psyhco!”.

Well except for ages ago when I was in the Army, of course, but then I never ran into anyone there who was like that, not anyone in a position of authority anyway, not in any position of authority for long anyway.

MB4 on April 21, 2008 at 5:27 PM

MB4 on April 21, 2008 at 5:19 PM

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

In the Army, subordinates take orders and execute them without argument. That’s not the way corporate America works where lines of authority and responsibility are often fuzzy. I’ve seen plenty of knock down drag out screaming matches. In fact, I know one very senior executive of one of the largest A&D companies in the world who got nose bleeds during some screaming matches. He was also one of the best, most effective senior Execs I ever worked with.

TheBigOldDog on April 21, 2008 at 5:40 PM

Question for ED and AP, does “the boss” ever talk like
that to you guys? I have heard it plenty, both in business
and way worse in the U.S. Army. NO ONE got fragged evah.
Being passionate about a point of view can work both ways.
It depends which side your on as to which way you react.

aceinstall on April 21, 2008 at 5:41 PM

MB4 on April 21, 2008 at 5:27 PM

I gotta agree with Ed on this one. It depends in what context you’re interacting (most corporations wouldn’t talk to clients that way though vice-versa may be true) but I bet if you sat in on some high level corporate meetings in the financial services, mortgage, and investing industries right now, and you’d get more than one or two f-bombs and goddamns :P

I don’t know if it always gets results, but especially if you’re talking senior management, and especially in a really type-A personality kind of environment, I bet you the words, “I tell you to do it, you better goddamn do it” has been said on multiple occassions, every day.

And face it, if you took that exact Cornyn quote, and replaced Cornyn with some liberal, and replaced the subject with the War on Terror instead of amnesty, and 99% of you would be going, “McCain, fuck yeah!” instead of pooh poohing him.

apollyonbob on April 21, 2008 at 5:43 PM

Okay maybe only 90% of you. Some of you really dislike McCain.

apollyonbob on April 21, 2008 at 5:44 PM

Kerrey is a hack. The only reason he got as far as he did, politically, was because when he was govenor of Nebraska, he dated Debra Winger. People in Nebraska thought it was sweet and reminded them of the days of “Camalot”. His performace on the 9-11 panel was atrocious. He also associated with Norman Hsu. He was out of his league.

Hagel is being run out of the Senate by Conservatives from Nebraska. The Nebraska Republican Party heard a ton of negative feedback when Hagel started bad mouthing Bush and the Military in regard to the war in Iraq.

PappaMac on April 21, 2008 at 4:55 PM

You got that right. I think Kerry was contemplating a run at Hagel’s seat till Mike Johanns entered the picture. Kerry knew what was going to happen to his carefully cultivated Camelot image if that happened. He also had developed some baggage from that little “shoot em’ all up” incident in a Viet Nam village, which preceded his sudden jump from the Senate to college dean.

a capella on April 21, 2008 at 5:51 PM

Limerick,

Have you ever seen a commie drink a glass of water?

aengus on April 21, 2008 at 5:52 PM

The results that anyone talking to me, or anyone I can think of that I have ever know, would be “I quit, you Psyhco!”.

Ditto.

aengus on April 21, 2008 at 5:53 PM

aengus on April 21, 2008 at 5:52 PM

Sorry aengus, I got lost on that one. Blame my parents….please.

Limerick on April 21, 2008 at 5:54 PM

Well, I can’t believe so many people are happy to have Captain Queeg as president. Because that IS who McCain is, with a populist, big government bent, to boot.

And he’s the best of the three, which is not saying very much.

BigD on April 21, 2008 at 5:54 PM

aengus…..ooops…Strangelove. Blush.

Limerick on April 21, 2008 at 5:58 PM

BigD on April 21, 2008 at 5:54 PM

What, you want Obama or Hillary? Give Me a break. McCain looks ideal compared to those two.

TheBigOldDog on April 21, 2008 at 6:00 PM

Having friends across the isle and in the press will end up being a genius political maneuver when many had questioned the path. again, the guy didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday.

THE CHOSEN ONE on April 21, 2008 at 6:00 PM

So McCain gets pissed from time-to-time . . . so what? Anybody that’s never got hot and let it show please post your picture, because I’ve never seen such a person.

rplat on April 21, 2008 at 6:08 PM

So McCain gets pissed from time-to-time . . . so what? Anybody that’s never got hot and let it show please post your picture, because I’ve never seen such a person.

rplat on April 21, 2008 at 6:08 PM

Well I’ve never sworn at a colleague. A student swore at me the other day and I left a note on his record.

aengus on April 21, 2008 at 6:15 PM

AP, are you responsible for the “Case for Romney” headline story?? Couldn’t you find one with a little more snark?

It is time to get over it.

eaglesdontflock on April 21, 2008 at 6:17 PM

Getting pissed now and then is human. Getting pissed all the time and being abusive to others is not. I have heard of the 2-3 instances in McCains carreer where he went off the handle. Thats not bad, especially in a high profile high powered position.

I would only have a problem if he did it all the time and was abusive.

Wyrd on April 21, 2008 at 6:18 PM

So telling John Cornyn to “F Off” because he criticized McCain’s amnesty bill “had a purpose?”

THe idea that John McCain does not have a temper and an anger management problem is silly to most people who have followed politics the past 25 years.

EJDolbow on April 21, 2008 at 4:58 PM

You this one right. Juan McCain=Republican=Shamnesty Guru.

Zorro on April 21, 2008 at 6:20 PM

M4B or whatever your handle is – it’s obvious you’ve never worked in a corporate environment. You may never have left your mother’s basement for all we know.

I worked on Wall Street for 15 years. I saw all kinds of tirades with profane, obscene and blasphemous language flying around.

I currently work in a hospital, and when the hit fits the shan, there is much language and unpleasantness to get the job done to save the patient when there’s a code or other serious issue.

Maybe you should crawl out into daylight once in awhile and see how the real world works.

Mommynator on April 21, 2008 at 6:28 PM

Hate to have to keep repeating myself.

A little righteous anger is a great thing to have in a leader.

I wish Bush had some, occasionally.

Unfortunately, McCain’s anger is directed at conservatives the vast majority of the time, and is even more rarely righteous anger: He uses it to try to cover up the fact that he knows that the other person/people are right, but is unwilling to admit it, especially to himself.

If that were his only negative, I’d be happy to accept it. But it is merely one symptom of a much deeper and more dangerous psychological problem….. Not that you can blame him for it. Most people who have gone through what he did would be seriously ‘bent’ too.

LegendHasIt on April 21, 2008 at 6:34 PM

Unfortunately, McCain’s anger is directed at conservatives the vast majority of the time, and is even more rarely righteous anger: He uses it to try to cover up the fact that he knows that the other person/people are right, but is unwilling to admit it, especially to himself.

I doubt that. Its more likely hes absolutely convinced of his own rightness and gets angry when anyone disagrees with him.

aengus on April 21, 2008 at 6:45 PM

Mommynator on April 21, 2008 at 6:28 PM

Never mind MB4, he doesn’t even post on any subject unless it bashes the Maverick, calls him names, and makes fun of his age. It’s quite unfortunate.

THE CHOSEN ONE on April 21, 2008 at 6:45 PM

I saw it in the Army…from basic training on. Hell, I was even subjected to it personally on occasion. :)

packsoldier on April 21, 2008 at 7:46 PM

Mommynator on April 21, 2008 at 6:28 PM

Ouch….*smak*

Likewise *whap*

HEH!!

BigWyo on April 21, 2008 at 7:48 PM

I doubt that. Its more likely hes absolutely convinced of his own rightness and gets angry when anyone disagrees with him.
aengus on April 21, 2008 at 6:45 PM

Well, that’s part of the the rest of my problems with McCain:

Except on Iraq, he and the liberals are pretty much in agreement on everything.

So; the liberals are rarely going disagree with him:

Therefore, his anger is most often turned on conservatives.

LegendHasIt on April 21, 2008 at 8:05 PM

Here is a 2006 article in News Max (not a liberal outfit) about McCain’s temper.

http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/7/5/00548.shtml?s=lh

EJDolbow on April 21, 2008 at 5:09 PM

Yeah, its not a liberal outfit, it is just a hack magazine.

Squid Shark on April 21, 2008 at 8:22 PM

The origin of most of the temper articles is Ted Sampley and his enablers. They all deserve much worse than McCain ever directed their way. Unfortunately they have their fans among the newsmax loonies and paulians.

funky chicken on April 21, 2008 at 9:03 PM

Ted Sampley=tool

Squid Shark on April 21, 2008 at 9:13 PM

I don’t know if it always gets results, but especially if you’re talking senior management, and especially in a really type-A personality kind of environment, I bet you the words, “I tell you to do it, you better goddamn do it” has been said on multiple occassions, every day.

Anyone ever talked to me like that, except in the Army (and I went though BCT, AIT and OCS and it’s not the same at all) where no one did, it would be the last they would ever see of me as I don’t work for such unprofessional psycho infants.

And face it, if you took that exact Cornyn quote, and replaced Cornyn with some liberal, and replaced the subject with the War on Terror instead of amnesty, and 99% of you would be going, “McCain, fuck yeah!” instead of pooh poohing him.

apollyonbob on April 21, 2008 at 5:43 PM

Not this boy.

MB4 on April 21, 2008 at 9:55 PM

I spent an hour or two digging into Robert Garwood, the person cited as causing the argument between McCain and Grassley. He seems like quite the sleazeball.

Brainster on April 21, 2008 at 9:58 PM

MB4 on April 21, 2008 at 9:55 PM

The “that” being of course something like Strawberries McVain’s, “F##k you!!! I know more about this than anyone else in the room!!!” as I would draw the inescapably conclusion that he was about 5 beers short of a six pack in the mental health department and that the one beer that he had was probably Billy beer or Millers.

MB4 on April 21, 2008 at 9:59 PM

M4B or whatever your handle is – it’s obvious you’ve never worked in a corporate environment. You may never have left your mother’s basement for all we know.

I have worked for NIKE, U.S. Bank and CNF to name a few and as far as what I know about you, you don’t even know diddle squat.

I worked on Wall Street for 15 years. I saw all kinds of tirades with profane, obscene and blasphemous language flying around.

Maybe that’s why Wall Street is so #uckedup now.

I currently work in a hospital, and when the hit fits the shan, there is much language and unpleasantness to get the job done to save the patient when there’s a code or other serious issue.

Note to self: Never go to the hospital that you are “working” at if I find out which one it is.

Maybe you should crawl out into daylight once in awhile and see how the real world works.

Mommynator on April 21, 2008 at 6:28 PM

You, unlike my mom, are a crackpot.

MB4 on April 21, 2008 at 10:11 PM

Some of you folks commenting here, in all your McCain excuse making ferver, do not seem to appreciate much, if at all, the difference between some examples of “rough language” with a purpose and Little Lord Juan Fauntleroy McVain’s immature not-too-tightly-wrapped self-centered outburst of, ““F##K YOU!!! I know more about this than anyone else in the room!!!, which shows lack of maturity and self disapline in the extreme, and for an hombre who is not much younger than dirt to boot.

Face it, McCain is just a crazy old amnesty coot.

MB4 on April 21, 2008 at 10:25 PM

Ouch….*smak*

Likewise *whap*…

HEH!!

BigWyo on April 21, 2008 at 7:48 PM

Sorry to disappoint but I didn’t feel a thing.

Of course if she or you had said anyhing like that to Strawberries McVain, he would have flooded you with %^&%$#**^^% YOU!!!

So that kind of makes my point, now doesn’t it.

MB4 on April 21, 2008 at 10:30 PM

Maybe you should crawl out into daylight once in awhile and see how the real world works.

Mommynator on April 21, 2008 at 6:28 PM

I generally like your comments Mommynator, but on this topic it depends on the work environment, on what is accepted to give/take. Why belittle others who don’t? Your experience is what it is, but it doesn’t make it better than others’.

Never mind MB4, he doesn’t even post on any subject unless it bashes the Maverick, calls him names, and makes fun of his age. It’s quite unfortunate.

THE CHOSEN ONE on April 21, 2008 at 6:45 PM

This is blatantly nonfactual, if you’ve observed HA for a while. MB4 comments on a variety of subjects with lots of panache/style, and is uniquely humorous. On the two topics shamnesty/McCain, on which most of us agree with him, and on the war in Iraq, on which most of us disagree with him, he’s a little nutty. But that’s no reason to insult anyone. Just have a serious conversation. You don’t have to believe what he does, nor vice-versa.

I currently work in a hospital, and when the hit fits the shan, there is much language and unpleasantness to get the job done to save the patient when there’s a code or other serious issue.

Mommynator on April 21, 2008 at 6:28 PM

Funny, I work in hospitals all over the country, and my experience is totally different. No one would dare talk like that in the environment that I function in. This should not mean that I coulnd’t tolerate it, or that I didn’t hear it in other places, but I’m just trying to say that there are all kinks of examples, non of which being the ultimate standard.

All in moderation, including moderation, is not bad advice an old lady gave me once.

Now, all of us, together, and yes, you too MB4, take a deep breath, including Mr. McCain, who will need to control all kinds of things, including his outbursts, some of which are justified, others of which are pure show, or lack of control.

Entelechy on April 21, 2008 at 11:17 PM

Entelechy on April 21, 2008 at 11:17 PM

Why don’t ask MB4 out a date? Have a serious conversation? What the hell are you talking about? His schtick is Juan McStrawberries etc 24/7. It gets old. Where in my statement did I insult him? Geez, you two get a room.

THE CHOSEN ONE on April 21, 2008 at 11:31 PM

THE CHOSEN ONE, the “get a room” is a very stupid statement, no matter who makes it. This is an e-forum.

If you look around HA, there were/are myriad of topics discussed. You have the perfect option to ignore any commenter/s. Just do so. Why get in such a huff over anyone’s comments?

I fight the lefties all the time on this blog, but not forever. At some point I even let the righties rant with themselves, or let them have the ‘last’ word because I know they’d never quit, no matter what I said. Just move on and let it be. Respectfully,

Entelechy on April 21, 2008 at 11:35 PM

Cheney said to Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont…

Go yourself

Chakra Hammer on April 21, 2008 at 5:11 PM

Which, coincidentally, is how Leaky Leahy should always be greeted, no matter what the occasion might be. As a matter of fact, it’s the formal salutation for letters addressed to him.

Misha I on April 22, 2008 at 12:21 AM

Entelechy on April 21, 2008 at 11:35 PM

Class.

baldilocks on April 22, 2008 at 2:15 AM

That picture looks like Bob got a whiff of BO.

Christine on April 22, 2008 at 1:08 PM