The Corner

Bad Character

Michael – you write:

 But his Keating Days showed a lack of character, and he’s personally vindictive even when ‘getting his man’ damages the national interest, as was shown by his grotesque vendetta against Air Force Secretary Roche. I’d be nervous with a President McCain. 

I think the question of his temper is a legitimate one. But I think the first part of that sentence is either unfair or aimed in the wrong direction. I think the Keating Five business showed less bad character than poor judgment. I think it’s an enormous stretch to suggest that McCain is anything like  money-corrupt, which is how I’m reading you there (if I’m wrong, my apologies). Indeed, I think the more damning indictment of his character has been his over-reaction to the Keating business rather than his initial involvement. For nearly 20 years, McCain has been on a relentless campaign to prove that he’s not money-corrupt and to atone for the Keating Five scandal. His whole mantra about how the “system” is both corrupt and corrupting and therefore politicians need to be saved from their own temptations shows a warped view of the role of character in public life and it also shows that his pride and ego have gotten the better of him in this area of public policy. But I don’t think it’s right to suggest he was on the take in some way. 

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