One of the big themes being pushed by John McCain’s detractors is that he apparently has a bit of a temper. This struck me as odd, as we haven’t really seen him “go off” on anyone despite some rather hefty provocations on the campaign trail (like the minister who asked him if he’d called his wife a cunt), but I’m willing to play along with it.
In that vein, Senator Thad Cochran (R-
AL MS) is telling folks about seeing a glimpse of McCain’s Irish during a visit to Nicaragua back in 1987.
During one meeting, Cochran says, McCain got physical with one Sandanista guerrilla leader:
“McCain was down at the end of the table and we were talking to the head of the guerrilla group here at this end of the table, and I don’t know what attracted my attention,” Cochran said. “But I saw some kind of quick movement at the bottom of the table and I looked down there and John had reached over and grabbed this guy by the shirt collar and had snatched him up like he was throwing him up out of the chair to tell him what he thought about him or whatever. I don’t know what he was telling him but I thought, good grief everybody around here has got guns and we were there on a diplomatic mission. I don’t know what had happened to provoke John, but he obviously got mad at the guy and he just reached over there and snatched him.”
Two elements of this story struck me immediately.
The first is that I have to wonder if it’s true. McCain makes no secret of his disability from his years of being tortured as a prisoner of war — he can’t lift his arms over his head. I’m no orthopedist or physical therapist (although I’m tempted to ask one I do know), but it seems to me a bit unlikely that he would be able to grab a guy across a table and yank him up, then threaten to throw him around.
The second thought came from my inner FrankJ (which we all have, if we are willing to admit it): McCain spent years dropping bombs on commies, got caught and tortured by commies, and about 14 years after being released, is still willing to manhandle commies. If he’d actually punched out the commie terrorist, I’d almost be ready to vote for him for dictator for life.
Note that while McCain’s actions did not exactly improve our relations with Nicaragua, neither did they trigger a war — or even a major incident.
That could make quite an ad:
“John McCain. First he dropped bombs on commies. Then, when they caught and tortured him, he stood up to them and took all they could do to him. Then, over ten years after being released, he still hates commies enough to almost punch one out in a diplomatic meeting.
John McCain. He hates commies more than anyone. Vote for him, or you’re a commie, too, and he’ll punch you out.”
Either way, I don’t think this story will do much to harm McCain.