Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

John McCain’s pastor problem goes way beyond John Hagee

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Originally published on on Fri, 05/23/2008 – 11:02am

Some non-partisans were probably impressed when John McCain spoke against Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson in 2000. And they were disappointed when McCain flip-flopped on those religious leaders years later.

McCain’s successful attempts to court other right-wing pastors, such as John Hagee and Rod Parsley, were fitting of McCain in 2008, not McCain in 2000.

So once again, we ask: Which McCain are we getting?

McCain #1: I support right-wing pastors. I strongly believe in what they have to say. I could listen to them all day long. Oh, what I said in 2000 – political opportunism. Show I can rebel against the party.

McCain #2: I don’t agree with Falwell, Robertson, Hagee, Parsley, and the others. They make me sick. I’m sucking up to them for political opportunism, and because I really need to suck up to the base. Why don’t they think I’m not conservative enough?

If you were to set up a “good” column and a “bad” column for Jeremiah Wright, you would find a lot more in the “good” column. And since we are all complex human beings with “good” and “bad,” it is a better measure of who we are.

A classic example is former Illinois Governor George H. Ryan, a Republican. Ryan halted the death penalty by issuing a moratorium on executions and traveled to Cuba to promote trade. But he also worked hard to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and is currently in jail for his role in a scandal involving illegal sale of government licenses, contracts and leases by state employees while he was Secretary of State. Very complex.

Now I would put up Jeremiah Wright’s and even George H. Ryan’s “good” column up against John Hagee and Rod Parsley. Hagee’s and Parsley’s “bad” columns – whew – can’t even measure how bad that would be.

But for John McCain, he hasn’t defended either Hagee or Parsley as contributors in the “good” column. When Obama was attacked ferociously for Jeremiah Wright, Obama pointed out the “good” column for Wright: his service in the Marines, the good deeds he did for the community in Chicago.

In his backtracking on Hagee from George Stephanopoulos, here is the only positive remarks he made about Hagee: “But I admire and respect Dr. Hagee’s leadership of the — of his church. I admire and appreciate his advocacy for the state of Israel, the independence of the state of Israel.”

That’s it? He admires and respects Hagee’s leadership of his church. Meaning how he leads with anti-Catholic and anti-Semite sentiments? Meaning how he leads about Hitler doing God’s will? Oh, and McCain does appreciate his advocacy for the independence of the state of Israel. Wow! McCain could have found millions around the world who believe in the independence of the state of Israel.

And when McCain gets 1/10,000 of the coverage that Obama and Wright got, he throws Hagee and Parsley off the bus. Talk about loyalty.

If John McCain doesn’t believe in these radical, right-wing pastors, then why should he have any credibility? And if McCain can’t stand up to the right-wing “religious conservatives,” his glorious base, how will he stand up for the rest of us?

We do know Republicans have sucked up to hateful, right-wing pastors for the last 25 years, but many hoped McCain would be different. The only difference with McCain is that he isn’t that good at sucking up, but he still tried anyway. Maybe he should just stay away from religion altogether.


Written by democracysoup

May 23, 2008 at 11:02 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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