McCain's Hagee Problem
By Big Tent Democrat
Appealing to "values voters" is a double edged sword for the candidates in this race. The problem is that much of the "appeal" that needs to be made is of the paranoid variety. To really appeal to "values voters" - you must hate the people they hate or find a way to spur the hate to vote for you. In 2004, Karl Rove, who remains the shrewdest (this is a neutral term morally) political operative of recent years, was able to provide hatred of gays and gay marriage to drive this extremist base to vote in droves. George Bush did not have to get his hands dirty. The other thing Bush and Rove did was never apologize for his supporters.
But "The Maverick" John McCain is in a different place. His Media Darling status is based in part on the perception that he does not play footsy with this extremist base. Of course he has to now, while trying to retain his Media image. This problem is amplified because he believes his opponent will be Barack Obama, the first Democratic Presidential candidate who is a Media Darling since JFK. That is why, as Glenn Greenwald discusses, John McCain has a John Hagee problem:
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