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Sunday, February 17, 2008

McCain privately apologized to Cornyn shortly after May 2007 profane shouting

Back in May 2007, I made one of the bigger fusses of anyone in the right-of-center blogosphere over Sen. John McCain's rude behavior toward one of my home-state senators, John Cornyn. I'd previously written from time to time about my disapproval of McCain's positions on a variety of substantive issues, especially his leadership of the GOP renegades from the so-called Gang of Fourteen compromise over judicial nominations. But his shouting profane insults at Sen. Cornyn bespoke to me a fundamental lack of temperament that I described then as "a textbook example of immature and irresponsible pique — ill-fitting a U.S. senator, and incomprehensibly inappropriate for a would-be U.S. president."

Although at that point I had not endorsed any GOP candidate, the incident troubled me so much that I declared my formal opposition to McCain's bid for the GOP nomination. Prophetically (out of many more missed prophecies), I admitted that "I would still probably hold my nose and vote for him in November 2008 if he became the GOP's nominee, because I don't believe in self-immolatory politics and the Democratic alternative will inevitably be worse on the issues most important to me." But I insisted that "Sen. McCain owe[d] Sen. Cornyn — and frankly, Sen. Cornyn's constituents, and his own — an immediate and unstinting public apology."

As I followed the various GOP candidates' campaigns since then, I saw several more press references to the shouting incident. But there certainly was never any comparably public apology by Sen. McCain, and I was left wondering what might have been said between them in private.

Now, as part of this AP article entitled "McCain's Sharp Tongue: An Achilles Heel?" I read that McCain at least made a private apology, and that he did so promptly:

With Cornyn, he smoothed things over quickly. The two argued during a meeting on immigration legislation; Cornyn complained that McCain seemed to parachute in during the final stages of negotiations. "F--- you. I know more about this than anyone else in the room," McCain reportedly shouted.

Cornyn chuckled at the memory of what he called McCain's "aggressive expressions of differences." The Texan has endorsed McCain.

"He almost immediately apologized to me," Cornyn said last week. "I accepted his apology, and as far as I'm concerned, we've moved on down the road."

(Texas' other U.S. senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison, has also endorsed McCain, and her name has been mentioned as a possible Veep nominee even though Texas remains a reliably red state even without a favorite son or daughter on the ticket.)

It's not that I'm worried that a President McCain might order an air strike on San Antonio if he gets cross-wise with Sen. Cornyn again. And if fate should ever put, say, Hugo Chavez on the same platform as McCain, the potential for clashing would probably be so obvious that McCain would have summoned up his very best behavior in advance; while his past explosions have sometimes been public, they haven't typically been while on camera or on stage. All things considered, I'd rather that the GOP nominee be of a naturally even temper rather than a hot one. But modest pluralities of GOP primary voters in a very small number of states have ensured that he hottest tempered, grumpiest, and most foul-mouthed of the major candidates will be at the top of the GOP ticket in November. I'm actively working at coming to grips with that, and little bits of information like this one help.

Sen. McCain is obviously aware of this particular set of character flaws. Even if he can't extirpate or suppress them, I'm at least glad for this confirmation that he has sufficient grace and presence to make necessary apologies. I suspect he'll have occasion to make more than a few of them during the rest of the 2008 campaign.

Posted by Beldar at 06:00 AM in 2008 Election, McCain, Politics (2008) | Permalink

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Comments

(1) cboldt made the following comment | Feb 17, 2008 7:14:38 AM | Permalink

What's to come to grips with? The "R" nominee gets the nod, based on the risk to the country if the "D" nominee is elected.

I still won't support McCain, and I still won't support the GOP, as long as it fails to meet my expectations for advocating limited and proper government.

But others, with the best of intentions and reasons at least as well thought out as mine, will pull "R" as the clear lesser of two evils.

I wonder about the number of votes in the margin. But I'm sure that I won't be convinced to vote FOR McCain, and I'm sure that Beldar won't be convinced NOT to.

(2) Scott Jacobs made the following comment | Feb 17, 2008 10:07:13 AM | Permalink

It should have been a VERY public appology. The second the incident hit the papers, Radio, and TV media McCain should have grabbed the first camera he saw, and publicly stated his Mea Culpa.

Sorry, being a prick publicly, and saying sorry privately doesn't do much for my opinion. If you can't eat your crow infront of everyone, don't place the order, you know?

(3) kent schmidt made the following comment | Feb 17, 2008 7:13:45 PM | Permalink

Anyone who will not vote for McCain obviously does not believe, as Norman Podhoretz writes, we are in WWIV.

(4) ech made the following comment | Feb 18, 2008 9:25:35 AM | Permalink

But modest pluralities of GOP primary voters in a very small number of states have ensured that he hottest tempered, grumpiest, and most foul-mouthed of the major candidates will be at the top of the GOP ticket in November.

Yeah! Seriously, he's right on the war and that's the biggest challenge of the current era. Now if he just picks a reasonable running mate .....

Sorry, being a prick publicly, and saying sorry privately doesn't do much for my opinion.

It wasn't in public, and from what I have heard from a friend that used to work for a very powerful senator, such remarks aren't that uncommon in meetings. Heck, I've said about the same in design meetings. Someone leaked the remark to hurt McCain.

(5) cboldt made the following comment | Feb 18, 2008 11:44:15 AM | Permalink

-- Anyone who will not vote for McCain obviously does not believe, as Norman Podhoretz writes, we are in WWIV. --

I'm not sure if they assign the label "WWIV" to today's hostilities, but a good number of the armchair generals in the Democrat party are spouting opinions about how to deploy the military to win the war on terror.

That is to say, they may agree there is a conflict worthy of the label "war," but disagree with McCain on its location and the tactics and strategies that the US should employ in the context of that war.

I agree with Podhoretz's meme that Western Civ is "committing suicide," but I see it more through the lens of James Burnham's "Suicide of the West" than though Podhoretz's pillars of preservation via preemptive military conflict and "spread of democracy" (scare quotes - read the constitutions of Afghanistan and/or Iraq. To me, they reek of "suicide of the west")

(6) Scott made the following comment | Feb 18, 2008 6:28:06 PM | Permalink

WWIV??

Where did WWIII go?

And sorry, I still refuse to vote for McCain.

(7) Mark L made the following comment | Feb 18, 2008 9:45:31 PM | Permalink

"Where did WWIII go?"

It ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall. And the victory sealed by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

You can thank Ronald Magnus for the victory, but I doubt you will.

(8) Scott made the following comment | Feb 19, 2008 8:17:32 AM | Permalink

Huh... I thought that was the Cold War. Never heard about Reagan also ending a World War.

And way to assume that Reagan isn't my favprite president, dolt.

(9) Mark L made the following comment | Feb 19, 2008 6:12:55 PM | Permalink

"Never heard about Reagan also ending a World War.

And way to assume that Reagan isn't my favprite president, dolt."

You never realized Reagan won a World War? And I am the dolt? Like they say, when someone points a finger, three more point back at him.

(10) Mark L made the following comment | Feb 19, 2008 6:13:21 PM | Permalink

"Never heard about Reagan also ending a World War.

And way to assume that Reagan isn't my favprite president, dolt."

You never realized Reagan won a World War? And I am the dolt? Like they say, when someone points a finger, three more point back at him.

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