In the US, the Republican National Convention has begun and as we prepare to watch the presumptive Republican nominee for President, it bears noting a little background into his character and past.
One reputable source of background material has been the BBC. They have released part one of a two-part audio documentary series timed for the conventions called “The Presidential Contenders,” profiling Barack Obama and John McCain. I listened to part one on Obama and profiled it last week. This week, it’s McCain’s turn. The audio documentary gives a forthright, unhyped portrayal of McCain in his earlier years, especially during his rise from former POW to congressman and Senator.
About his leadership style, a buddy from Arizona said this:
“John is still the rambunctious guy he always was. He goes against the grain — is defiant sometimes. And I love that in my president.”
“I found him to be a very temperamental person who has difficulties with anyone who disagrees with him…. I just came to the conclusion that this guy was really not very stable in my judgment.”
He struggled to live up to the family “tough guy” reputation and he didn’t excel in schoolwork. But, he was strong-willed, social and personable. These character traits and a sense of opportunism moved him forward in his political career. His problematic temper and his lack of forethought regarding the consequences of his behavior are also covered with many on-the-record quotes from those who knew him as a POW, in the Senate, and in private life in Arizona.
The overall picture? McCain is a down-to-earth, practical and outgoing but opportunistic character with a very strong will and a sense of duty and personal honor as core to his sense of self. His extreme ambition has made him often seem opportunistic or disloyal, while his disregard for consequences and him explosive temper have earned him a reputation as a volatile person.
In this biography, his personal character traits seem remarkably similar to George W. Bush’s, both in their positives and negatives.
I highly recommend listening to this mp3 recording. It clocks in at just over 20 minutes. Click below to listen and judge for yourself.
Barack Obama: candidate profile