Tuesday, March 04, 2008

McCain's Lost His Way

".... Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and a few Washington leaders of the pro-life movement call me an unacceptable presidential candidate.... Why? Because I don't pander to them....

"The union bosses who have subordinated the interests of working families to their own ambitions, to their desire to preserve their own political power at all costs, are mirror images of Pat Robertson.... Unfortunately, Governor Bush is a Pat Robertson Republican who will lose to Al Gore.

"Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left, or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right." (CNN Feb 28 2000 transcript)

These are the words of Sen. John McCain just before his savagely aborted run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2000.

Many still argue whether or not Gore actually did defeat The Decider in that hanging-by-a-chad outcome.... but one thing does stand out. This was the Straight Talking John McCain who won the hearts of moderates of both parties.... but, not of the dominant right-wing religious conservative movement in the GOP.

Moderates didn't get a chance to vote for McCain as the 2000 GOP nominee because of the successful smear campaign against McCain and his family by Bush's Rovian bullies that stopped his Straight Talk Express in early-primary-state South Carolina, Pat Robertson's stronghold.

Yet despite these tactics against McCain, he announced that he had put that behind him and supported The Decider for reelection in 2004.... disappointing many of his supporters who saw it as a trade off for Bush's support in 2008, and a sell-out of his Straight Talk for pandering.

After all, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell Republicans were the epitome of Bush's "outer reaches" base.... but, McCain had learned his lesson. His Straight Talk Express was put on idle.

You get a whiff of McCain's religious-woodshed conversion in an interview with the Arizona Daily Star on 24 August 2005. He said about the possibility of running for president in 2008.... "My ego is sufficient to say that I think I have the background and experience...." to be president.

Evidently that "experience" included lessons on pandering to the religious right. McCain told the Star that, like Bush, he believes "all points of view" should be available to students studying the origins of mankind.... advocating teaching the theory of intelligent design alongside evolution... the "outer reaches" of the evangelical political agenda.

Any doubt about his willingness to kiss rings evaporated when he appeared on stage with Jerry Falwell at the ultra-conservative Liberty University on May 13, 2006 to deliver an address to the graduating students.

McCain's appearance with Falwell came as he was "trying to establish an early dominance in the Republican presidential nomination battle..." (NYTimes)

Moderates were disillusioned by McCain's grinding his Straight Talk Express into reverse to chase those inhabiting the fringes of the evangelical Twilight Zone that he once rebuked.

Perhaps the final breakdown of the Straight Talk Express came with the recent endorsement of McCain by "outer reaches" Texas televangelist and mega church leader John Hagee.

While Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said he did "reject and denounce" any help from the controversial Farrakhan, there was no such declaration from McCain who refused to renounce Hagee's endorsement. (WashingtonPost)

Why is renouncing Hagee important?

Because Hagee... whose church in San Antonio has 19,000 members and his evangelism is carried on 160 TV stations and 50 radio stations in the U.S..... has referred to the Roman Catholic Church as "the great whore," and linked Adolph Hitler to the Catholic church; called Hurricane Katrina an act of God, punishing New Orleans for its sins, especially by striking on the day a "homosexual parade" was to be held as proof "of the judgement of God against the city."

It seems McCain used to see things so clearly.... a long eight years ago before his Straight Talk Express lost its way. When he was against the "failed philosophy" and "intolerance" of the Loony-Tunes religious right in the GOP, before he was for them.... or, needed them.

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