Maybe we need to check Obama’s temper-ature

posted at 12:15 pm on May 21, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Democrats have tried to make hay out of John McCain’s temper, arguing that a hothead shouldn’t get elected to the White House. That argument has fizzled despite abortive attempts by the New York Times to stretch some heated argument into a pathological condition. Jim Geraghty notes that the media has ignored an incident which rises to at least the Times’ standard for evidence, but involving someone else entirely. In a new biography of Barack Obama, author David Mendell recounts an incident in which Obama had to be physically restrained:

Obama, to be sure, had allies in the black caucus, but he had his share of critics as well. His chief antagonists were Rickey Hendon, who represented a district on the city’s West Side, and Donne Trotter, ho would run against Obama for Congress.

Hendon and other African-American lawmakers from the West Side often found themselves at odds with their South Side brethren, but the rift between Hendon and Obama was particularly acute. Hendon and Trotter would “just give Barack hell,” said Senator Kimberly Lightford, an Obama ally in the black caucus. Hendon, nicknamed “Hollywood,” because he once aspired to produce films, was a flamboyant personality in Springfield, known for his smart-aleck humor and occasionally inappropriate public manner. In one legislative session, the two nemses nearly came to physical blows when Obama, apparently inadvertently, voted against a bill that included funding for a project that assisted Hendon’s district.

Years later, details of the incident remain in the eye of the beholder. Obama supporters say that Obama had stepped away from his seat and asked someone else to vote for him, not an uncommon practice considering the thousands of votes each session. His proxy, however, accidentally voted against his wishes. When Obama asked that the record reflect that he voted the wrong way, Hendon publicly accused Obama of duplicity. Hendon has never been shy about holding back his feelings, and he had a special way of penetrating Obama’s usually smooth exterior. Soon, the two men were shouting at each other on the senate floor. They took their disagreement into a nearby room, and a witness said that Obama had to be physically restrained. Neither man cares to discuss the incident today, but Hendon remains unconvinced of Obama’s explanation that his vote was accidental. Individuals close to the situation say Hendon still believes Obama voted against his project to pacify North Side fiscal conservatives who were leery of some West Side projects. For his part, the rarely reticent Hendon won’t discuss the altercation, except to confirm that it occurred. “I have been advised to leave Barack alone and that is what I am going to do,” Hendon said. “I am going to let things stay in the past. It happened. That’s all I can say. It happened.”

Why does this sound familiar? Well, Michael Leahy made an entire article for the Washington Post out of a supposed incident in which Bob Kerrey had to separate McCain from Charles Grassley during a debate in the Senate. Kerrey later denied it, telling Politico’s Jonathan Martin that no one had to intercede between McCain and Grassley. Furthermore, Kerrey said, McCain’s temper never got irrational, but was carefully calculated for the issue at hand, and usually led McCain to prevail.

So, Jim Geraghty wonders, what happened to all of those investigative journalists so keen on delving into the hothead issue?

[The] book came out last year. No one else has thought this was worthy of mentioning or discussion? Lots of people get angry, and even the best of us have our tempers flare every now and then. But is this incident ignored because the image of a furious Obama, having to be physically restrained, so contrasts the nice guy/secular messiah image we’re seeing in the media?

Does the Washington Post and New York Times have a double standard for coverage of this issue? After all, their articles were based on anonymous sourcing. Mendell has at least one of the principles describing a physical confrontation, and unnamed sources describing how Obama had to be physically restrained to keep from assaulting Hendon. Mendell has told this story to other publications, but the news outlets so curious about McCain’s temperament have shown a curious lack of curiosity about this Obama moment.

Note, too, that the incident shows Obama getting upset to the point of violence when his integrity got questioned. Doesn’t that remind readers of his reaction to Jeremiah Wright? He didn’t get bothered by anything Wright said until Wright asserted that Obama distanced himself only out of political expediency.

We await with bated breath the upcoming articles in the Post and Times about Obama’s temperament and his potential unsuitability for office. We can more realistically expect Democrats to suddenly declare this topic out of bounds, and hear how this doesn’t help Michelle Obama’s children.


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I have to question the authenticity of this story Ed. To believe it would mean believing Obambi has a backbone.

We all know he’s a jellyfish.

fogw on May 21, 2008 at 12:19 PM

“I have been advised to leave Barack alone and that is what I am going to do,” Hendon said.

Sounds ominous. I wonder if a garlic nose did the advising.

misterpeasea on May 21, 2008 at 12:21 PM

Imagine if the guy swiped Barry’s waffle.

Chuck Schick on May 21, 2008 at 12:23 PM

Does the Washington Post and New York Times have a double standard for coverage of this issue?

Heavens to Murgatroid and Great Caesar’s Ghost! How could you even suggest such a thing?! Scandalous!

CK MacLeod on May 21, 2008 at 12:24 PM

Looks like the kind of “bad pub” a wimpy weanie who bowls like a sissy would want to be circulating.

Akzed on May 21, 2008 at 12:25 PM

Good thing Barry’s not a muslim.

fossten on May 21, 2008 at 12:25 PM

I am deeply disappointed. Michelle would never marry such a shallow man. Henceforth, we must keep the spouses out of this debate. Well, except for Cindy. She’s completely fair game. Contradictory you say? Nah. Democratory.

Griz on May 21, 2008 at 12:27 PM

That’s what happens when you meet an adversary without preconditions. Why didn’t Barry offer him a carrot or two?

a capella on May 21, 2008 at 12:28 PM

It doesn’t matter what he does. The fix is in.

ronsfi on May 21, 2008 at 12:29 PM

So, Jim Geraghty wonders, what happened to all of those investigative journalists so keen on delving into the hothead issue?

They

have been advised to leave Barack alone

rbj on May 21, 2008 at 12:31 PM

BO must have forgotten his Pollyanna pin that day.

kirkill on May 21, 2008 at 12:33 PM

I have to question the authenticity of this story Ed. To believe it would mean believing Obambi has a backbone.

We all know he’s a jellyfish.

fogw on May 21, 2008 at 12:19 PM

How funny. You mean when they found out people thought Hillary was mean, she had to learn to laugh and lighten-up. The meme (hate that word for some reason) that Barry is a wuss means they had to come up with a fight scenario. If he mentions something that happened at the gym, or how he couldn’t find his jockstrap yesterday when he was going out to play rugby, we’ll know for sure.

JiangxiDad on May 21, 2008 at 12:33 PM

Akzed on May 21, 2008 at 12:25 PM

Sorry, didn’t see that you had already said that.

JiangxiDad on May 21, 2008 at 12:34 PM

Purely as an academic thought experiment, what would it take to provoke that kind of outburst in a televised debate?

NeighborhoodCatLady on May 21, 2008 at 12:40 PM

By definition of “liberal”, is being angry.

Can you imagine a really left wing liberal…. angry…?

Kini on May 21, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Good thing Barry’s not a muslim.

fossten on May 21, 2008 at 12:25 PM

I think you forgot a “/sarc” there.

What kind of “Change” did it represent when he switched from wanting to be called from “Barry Soetoro” to “Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.”? Isn’t that like the “Change” Malcolm Little went through?

Messiah?
Or, wolf in sheep’s clothing?

Red Pill on May 21, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Still six months to go. If we can get a video of Obama living up to his pastor’s rage, it will be golden. Somebody please get it.

MadisonConservative on May 21, 2008 at 12:44 PM

So . . . old Barry had to be restrained. If he was really serious about punching the guy out why were there other people in the room with them? To me, this sounds like more Barry BS.

rplat on May 21, 2008 at 1:09 PM

We all know he’s a jellyfish.

fogw on May 21, 2008 at 12:19 PM

Even jellyfish have death written all over them in the stingers.

Watch the outcome… because someone is going to get stung once before this is all over.

upinak on May 21, 2008 at 1:19 PM

The MSM and Obama’s followers are so in the tank for this
guy it is getting beyond scary.

This guy has accomplished close to nothing as a Senator.

Democrats are on record as defending his 20 year relationship with his “moral compass” and “spiritual advisor” the racist separatist Rev. Wright.

Democrats defend his working on several boards with the un-repentant terrorist Ayers/Dohrn.Obama refers to them
as “main stream”.

Says he supports the right to bear arms then it is revealed he filled out a questioner stating in his own hand
writing that he wants hand guns banned.
MSM does nothing.

Says he doesn’t take money from oil companies than it is revealed that he has taken thousands of dollars from oil company execs.,just not directly from the companies themselves(which no one has since it is illegal).
MSM does nothing.

Says that people hang on to their guns and religion because they are “bitter”.
MSM defends him and pretty much agrees with him.

Mr. super smart thinks America is made up of 57 states,
Condemns Bush for not providing enough Arabic speaking translators in Afghanistan(that doesn’t speak arabic) because they are being used in Iraq, wants to pull out troops in Iraq and only bring them in if Al-qaeda starts to set up bases(like they have been for the past 5 years).

Yea, right, Bush is the dumb one.
MSM gives him a total pass.

Obama says in regards to Iran and the threat they pose
to America:

“They don’t pose a serious threat to us in the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us,” Obama told a cheering audience, explaining why he doesn’t think we need to worry about “tiny” countries like Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and Iran.”

One of the leading sponsors of terrorism on the planet is just a tiny threat.

Wonder how big a threat Obama would have viewed Afghanistan to be before Sept. 11, 2001.

The hypocrisy and idiocy of this guy shows up more and more everyday and he gets a total pass from the MSM and his followers.

This guy could kill 20 polar bears on national television
and the eco-fundamentalist and MSM would applaud him for providing food for the poor.

Baxter Greene on May 21, 2008 at 1:20 PM

Does the Washington Post and New York Times have a double standard for coverage of this issue?

Umm, do you really need to ask?

Cicero43 on May 21, 2008 at 1:23 PM

The American news media is utterly worthless in the role they have arrogated to themselves of being watchdogs for truth.

How can any honest human being go to work at any major newspaper or broascast network?

Simple answer, they can’t. They have self-selected themselve into more honest lines of work and become used-car salesmen, carny hustlers and drug pushers.

drunyan8315 on May 21, 2008 at 1:29 PM

Barack’s alleged explosion of anger is out of character for a follower of The Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

/sarc

indythinker on May 21, 2008 at 1:41 PM

Here’s a January 2008 story in the L.A. Times about Barry’s vote confusion, which mentions the Hendon kerfuffle but does not get into any fisticuffs:
Obama Said Oops on 6 State Senate Votes.

He pushed the wrong button, he asserted at the time. Two of the admitted flubs were on hotly contested issues.

Buy Danish on May 21, 2008 at 2:04 PM

I forgot to mention that I’m actually pleased to hear that McCain may have had a contretemps with Charles Grassley. He’s the RINO responsible in large part for the Farm Bill disaster.

Buy Danish on May 21, 2008 at 2:08 PM

Even jellyfish have death written all over them in the stingers.

upinak on May 21, 2008 at 1:19 PM

Not the one’s that live on land.

They have harmless noodle legs.

fogw on May 21, 2008 at 2:13 PM

If Obama, or any democrat, could muster 30% of the animosity they have for conservatives to our enemies in the world.

jukin on May 21, 2008 at 2:40 PM

If Obama, or any democrat, could muster 30% of the animosity they have for conservatives to our enemies in the world.

jukin on May 21, 2008 at 2:40 PM

It’d be Global Thermonuclear War.

misterpeasea on May 21, 2008 at 2:46 PM

Donne Trotter, ho would run against Obama for Congress.

I hope Donne is not a woman because someone is going to be in big trouble…

brtex on May 21, 2008 at 2:49 PM

“I have been advised to leave Barack alone and that is what I am going to do,” Hendon said.

I see mister pease and rbj see it also.

Obviously they know something about Chicago.

rockhauler on May 21, 2008 at 3:10 PM

The story smells a bit fishy, but that’s not what bothers me.

Obama had stepped away from his seat and asked someone else to vote for him, not an uncommon practice considering the thousands of votes each session. His proxy, however, accidentally voted against his wishes.

Does anyone else find this unnerving, put along with all his “present” votes and the fact that he doesn’t have a major bill to his name? This guy can’t stand up for anything, and even his minions are incompetent!

pookysgirl on May 21, 2008 at 11:50 PM