Treating subordinates like dirt is a moral flaw, and I would be mortified to be accused of it. (I avoid these accusations by having no subordinates.) By now the evidence of Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar’s guilt in this respect is overwhelming. The New York Times has replicated the findings of BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post before it: Klobuchar, who is now seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, is a workplace terror with a penchant for winging binders and phones at underlings. It is possible that her aides are oversensitive. As a Minnesota native, I can attest that snowflakes abound there, including in Klobuchar’s hair. But I doubt these accusations are due to an abundance of them on the candidate’s staff. Their willingness to approach the media about personnel issues bespeaks true abnormality. She must really be a monster, at least when under stress.
Whether her venom disqualifies her from higher office is, of course, another question. Politics ain’t beanbag, and it ain’t HR either. Many politicians’ demeanor in private life would, if widely identified with their public persona, render them unelectable. Lyndon Johnson, a man of limitless vulgarity, referred to his genitals and bathroom habits frequently and with unnerving affection, often seemingly with the intention of discomfiting those around him. Joe Biden enjoys a popular reputation as a smiling backslapper, but his occasional irritability is well known and feared in Washington. Those famous gleaming veneers conceal sharp fangs.