Senior McCain Advisor: Religious Right is a "Serious Problem"
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:32:34 PM EST
One of John McCain's senior advisors has publicly declared that the religious right is a "serious problem." While I would certainly agree, this statement comes at a time when his candidate has embraced some key leaders -- and is further courting this faction of the party, which mostly did not support in him in the primaries.

The Washington correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, speaking to an audience of young Jews on behalf of the McCain campaign, had some things to say about the religious right that reminded us of the McCain of old who once denounced Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as "agents of intolerance." They also underscore that John McCain has become the very kind of panderer he once denounced.

Eagleburger, Schmuel Rosner writes
"did not mince his words. In a response to a question about the religious right, an important component of the Republican coalition, he said that it was, indeed "a serious problem," and reminded his listeners that he now lives in Charlottesville, surrounded by such people that he needs to fight.

One would think that this is not exactly what McCain needs, while he is trying to win over this reluctant constituency. But Eagleburger calmed these young Jews by promising that McCain will not change his ways to please anyone. And he did not forget to take a swipe on Rush Limbaugh - not for the first time - even while forgetting, or pretending to forget, his name.

It is not clear from the context of the article, in what ways Eagleburger views the religious right as a problem.

He might begin by considering that his candidate John McCain has pandered to the religious right by declaring, and refusing to retract the idea that

"the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation."

Eagleburger might also take a look at the extreme views of rising religious right star Rev. John Hagee, whose support candidate McCain courted for more than a year before Hagee's extreme statements, blew up in his face. He might also consider the wider role of Hagee's organization Christians United for Israel (CUFI) which adds an apocalyptically destablizing element to the politics of the Middle East. Both McCain and his pal Sen. Joe Leiberman were prominent participants at the CUFI conference in Washington DC last year.

And then there is the ever-controversial Rev. Rod Parsely, the Ohio Religious Right leader whose support McCain has accepted while describing him as his "spiritual guide."  

Unlike Barack Obama, who never sought the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan, and quickly renounced it along with his controversial views and remarks -- John McCain sought, received and has not renounced the support of John Hagee and Rod Parsely whose cases of breathtaking bigotry are as bad if less well known than Farrakhan's.

While I am sure that John McCain does not share the hateful views of Hagee and Parsely, this episode surfaces another dimension of the character and judgement of candidate McCain. He has demonstrated a double talking side to his political ambitions at odds with the aw shucks style of an allegedly straight-talking pol. The chasm between his stated principles and his public actions is wide, as he forges profound political alliances with Religious Right leaders who are every bit as divisive as Robertson and Falwell in utter abandonment of principles he once fiercely held and famously declared during the 2000 presidential campaign.

I recognize and celebrate that our country is founded upon Judeo- Christian values, and I have pledged my life to defend America and all her values, the values that have made us the noblest experiment in history. But public -- but political intolerance by any political party is neither a Judeo-Christian nor an American value. The political...

 (APPLAUSE)

The political tactics of division and slander are not our values, they are...

(APPLAUSE)

They are corrupting influences on religion and politics, and those who practice them in the name of religion or in the name of the Republican Party or in the name of America shame our faith, our party and our country.

(APPLAUSE)

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.

We are the party of Ronald Reagan, not Pat Robertson. We are the party...

(APPLAUSE)

We are the party of Theodore Roosevelt, not the party of special interests. We are...

(APPLAUSE)

We are the party of Abraham Lincoln, not...

(APPLAUSE)

We are the party of Abraham Lincoln, not Bob Jones.

Whatever one may think of McCain's overall views here, there is no question that the man who once denounced pandering to the religious right, has become the GOP's panderer-in-chief.  

The Washington Post has the video of Eagleburger's remarks.




Display:
Step Two.....

[ topple to ground ? ]

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:43:32 PM EST

but I think the story and what it all means in the context of McCain's history will need to get a lot more, umm, momentum, for toppling to occur.

by Frederick Clarkson on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:39:27 PM EST
Parent
& the timing is rough - the progressive blogosphere is caught up in the DC conference, plus promoting the new Iraq withdrawal plan.

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 05:27:18 PM EST
Parent
We keep the focus on our topic, even when big DC conferences don't cover it at all.

by Frederick Clarkson on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 05:52:07 PM EST
Parent





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