Yesterday, Pastor John Hagee endorsed my candidacy for president in San Antonio, Texas. However, in no way did I intend for his endorsement to suggest that I in turn agree with all of Pastor Hagee's views, which I obviously do not.
I am hopeful that Catholics, Protestants and all people of faith who share my vision for the future of America will respond to our message of defending innocent life, traditional marriage, and compassion for the most vulnerable in our society.
The Altantic's Matthew Yglesias calls this "weak tea." It also represents a double standard; where Barack Obama was expected to stop just short of saying he wanted to kill Louis Farrakhan over his endorsement, this is all that's expected of McCain. In fact, this is worse than a double standard, this is bass-ackward.
"Barack Obama never sought support from Louis Farrakhan, never appeared on stage with Farrakhan, never pronounced himself proud to be backed by Farrakhan, but was nonetheless asked on national television to specifically disavow the man," Yglesias writes.
"McCain and his staff actively sought out Hagee's endorsement, he appeared and campaigned with Hagee, he said he was proud to be backed by Hagee," he goes on. "Hagee is, in short, part of McCain's political strategy. Now he tells us he doesn't agree with Hagee about everything."
That statement kind of begs the question; what do they agree about? Wouldn't that be just as important as what they disagree about? Where McCain suggests (he won't even come out and say it explicitly) that he doesn't share Hagee's anti-Catholicism, he doesn't say what views Hagee holds that made him so proud to accept the endorsement in the first place -- at least, other than the typical pro-life, anti-homosexual-menace crap he could get from just about any right winger only half as crazy.
OK, so it's not the anti-Catholic stuff -- is it the belief that a war with Iran was foretold in the biblical book of Esther? Is it the belief that "Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans?"
If you could just clear that up for us John, that'd be great. If you're going to tell us you disagree with Hagee, it's kind of important to know where that disagreement ends.
Of course, Hagee isn't the only right wing zealot to endorse McCain. Relatively early in his campaign, he was also honored to accept the endorsement of Gary Bauer. He did more than accept the endorsement -- as Chicago Tribune told us at the time, "McCain has consulted with Bauer regularly as he’s run for president, so his endorsement is not a huge surprise." That'd be the same Gary Bauer who wrote that the media should just shut up about Abu Ghraib and used the threat of terrorism to boost Bush. "The odds of us being hit before the November election grow by the hour," Bauer wrote, "But don't tell grandstanding senators—they are too busy beating up their own country."
You agree with that, John?
McCain's also been appearing around Ohio with "Patriot Pastor" Rod Parsley. No big surprise there -- Parsley's part of Ohio's corrupt Republican machine. But Parley's at least as insane as Hagee. He's compared Planned Parenthood to the Nazis. He's called for the criminal prosecution of adulterers (which kind of makes you wonder why he's backing McCain).
OK, we get that you don't agree with Hagee that the Catholic Church is the biblical Whore of Babylon. Fine. But what do you agree with him on? Where do you agree with Parsley and Bauer? Why are you not only racking up endorsements from these nutjobs, but actively seeking them out?
If Obama has to answer for a lunatic's endorsement he never sought, then McCain should answer for endorsements he sought from lunatics. Explaining away disagreements is damned close to meaningless -- on what do they agree?
McCain's bland disavowal of Hagee's position on Catholicism doesn't go nearly far enough. He wanted these nuts' endorsements and now it's up to him to explain why. If John McCain is going to kiss up to the farthest right of the religious right, he has a responsibility to explain it. When your supporters are a rogues' gallery of bigots, extremists, and God-smacked fools -- and further, when you've sought their support -- there's a certain implied reciprocal endorsement of their views.
Where do you agree, John? That's just as important -- if not more -- as where you disaree.
Technorati tags: politics; Iran; Iraq; war; gay; hate; bigotry; elections; 2008; Republican; religious right; John McCain needs to explain why he thinks he should be in the same box as John Hagee, Rod Parsley, and Gary Bauer