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:

John McCain yesterday happily received an endorsement from, and then expressed lavish gratitude towards, one of the most hateful and radical evangelical ministers in the country, Pastor John Hagee. As documented in that post, Hagee has a history of making some of the most extreme and twisted statements of any religious figure in the country towards multiple groups of Americans.

Among the many groups which McCain's new associate has targeted for hateful bigotry are Catholics. As a result, The Catholic League today issued a statement -- entitled "McCain Embraces Bigot" -- which pointed out that Hagee:

has waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church. For example, he likes calling it "The Great Whore," an "apostate church," the "anti-Christ," and a "false cult system."

The Catholic League demanded that McCain repudiate Hagee and his endorsement, just as Barack Obama did earlier this week with Louis Farrakhan (despite the fact that Obama, unlike McCain with Hagee, never sought out or accepted Farrakhan's endorsement).

This is all rather ironic and funny as Bill Donohue and the Catholic League, which is not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, are pretty darn hateful themselves. But the Media has treated him as a serious person when attacking Democrats. If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, this is probably not a problem for McCain. But Barack Obama changes that. He is a Media Darling too.

One pitfall for Obama is that playing the renouncing game has never been a good play for Democrats. And Obama will be provided a list of people he will need to repudiate, we have already seen Farrakhan brought to to the discussion by Tim "Pumpkinhead" Russert. But there is no doubt that if Obama is the nominee, the ugliest side of the Republican coalition may see the light of day in this campaign. And that is bad news for John McCain.

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    Doesn't Hagee preach the end of the (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 10:56:39 AM EST
    world is imminent?  Maybe this is McCain's way of letting us know he won't really have the U.S. in Iraq for 100 years.

    Even worse (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 11:24:53 AM EST
     He actively calls for it to be brought about, seriously the man wants us to Nuke the vast majority of the Middle East to Hasten the end of days. Oh and that doesn't even mention the part that will really piss off some Evangelicals, he doesn't think Jesus was the Messiah (or at least JC never said he was).

    And the scary part is... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by RiderOnTheStorm on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 11:32:15 AM EST
    ...he has followers.  Fanatical followers.

    So an excellent Democratic tactic would be drive a wedge between him and McCain sufficient to get him aggravated enough to tell his sheeple not to vote for McCain...because they'll do it.


    Hagee=Farrakhan, right? (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 11:22:55 AM EST
    Gotta love the "Muslims a programmed to kill the unbelievers" remark that's quoted at MYDD, I mean if that's not pure bigotry I don't know what is.

    Is Saint McCain (none / 0) (#1)
    by bob h on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 10:14:06 AM EST
    receiving succor from an "agent of intolerance"?  (One who advocates a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran?)

    McCain will throw Hagee under (none / 0) (#2)
    by Joike on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 10:31:07 AM EST
    the bus if he thinks it is politically convenient.

    St. McCain bashed the religious right when it opposed him in '00 then spent 8 years sucking up to them because he needed their support to capture the nomination.

    Now, they have never totally warmed up to him, but that hasn't stopped McCain from pandering to their hate-based ideology.

    We'll see how much of a free pass he gets from the media.  I can't see Timmeh making a big deal out of it.  His man-love blinds him.

    Still it is funny to see one hate group call out another hate group for being hatey.

    Really? (none / 0) (#4)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 10:33:56 AM EST
    I doubt that he can throw Hagee under the bus. Hagee represents the mindset of many GOP voters. They have been courting those guys for a long time.

    He may try to Obviate him (none / 0) (#5)
    by Florida Resident on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 10:44:33 AM EST
    but he has to be careful Hague is representative of a large chunk of the Loyal Republican Base

    I've always had a problem with (none / 0) (#3)
    by Florida Resident on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 10:33:03 AM EST
    the term "Value Voters" it is part of the Republican meme to equate values with being Christians, something the MSM has bitten into and swallowed the hook and sinker.

    conservative evangelical Christians (none / 0) (#6)
    by Nasarius on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 10:53:45 AM EST
    To be specific.

    I was quite surprised to see Glenn had interviewed Bill Donohue. But I had a look and couldn't find much evidence that he's a bigot along the lines of figures like Robertson or Falwell. While talking with Glenn, he even mentioned Hagee's intolerance of homosexuality. So he's an obnoxious clown, to be sure, but of all the Christian sects screeching about persecution, Catholics probably have a legitimate case to make.


    Older established churches usually have (none / 0) (#9)
    by Florida Resident on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 11:04:30 AM EST
    a more diverse base.  Therefore the positions of one of more of its so called leaders do not generally reflect on the church as such unless it's a bishop or the Pope in the case of the Catholic church.  The problem with fundamentalist Ideas wether they be christian or jewish or muslim or whichever religion is that they claim to deny interpretation even while they are really interpreting themselves.  It is an old argument such as faith vis a vis acts.  Hague and his ilk in my opinion are a problem to America as a whole not just to the Republican party.  Actually when back in 2003 I stood and said in a party meeting that we were being hijacked by the religious right I swear some people wanted to stone me a la Old Testament.  Not a good feeling for a Jew like me.

    William Donohue going after... (none / 0) (#8)
    by mike in dc on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 10:57:51 AM EST
    ...the Republican nominee?  "The ironing is delicious."  ;)

    It would be nice if the press held him to some kind of remotely comparable standard, since obviously Obama's going to be required to denounce and reject every black person who ever said or did anything to annoy any white person anywhere once.  He'll have to denounce and reject his own pastor, even though the ADL says there's no evidence Wright ever said anything anti-Semitic in his career.  Next will come the "will you denounce AND reject Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, OJ Simpson, Michael Vick, and Lil Kim?"

    None of this is really unexpected to me.  But I do expect some coordinated push back, and some pressure on the media to hold McCain accountable.  The more independents and Democrats know about McCain, the less favorable their opinion of him becomes.

    "st. john of mccain", (none / 0) (#13)
    by cpinva on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 11:39:10 AM EST
    the well known itinerant "flip-flopper" and "dumper of sick wives" does have some.........issues. that minor "keating" thing for example. never has stopped the press from just wanting rub up against him though, probably won't start now.

    donahue is your basic fat nobody. if you've ever watched him go into one of his silly rants on tv, you'd swear you were watching an SNL rerun. the catholic league is pretty much his personal piggy bank near as i can tell, since he has no obvious means of support otherwise. who cares what this schlep thinks?

    hagee's another of the same ilk: twin sons of different mothers. again, a basic nobody, using his "church" as his piggy bank.

    the difference between these two clowns and a farrakhan is that most aware people know who louis farrakhan is, i doubt 2 in 10 know who donahue and/or hagee are.

    No, he's a media darling because... (none / 0) (#14)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 11:42:55 AM EST
    ...first, his captivity in Vietnam is considered honorable in our age of deifying all things military (despite the fact he was in Vietnam murdering people who had done nothing to him or his country); and second, he is a bully and reporters are afraid of him.  His "perception" as a straight talker, won't cow-two to hardcore righties, is all a load of turd.  He talks as crooked as anyone and cow-tows with the best of them.  The REALITY behind his darling status is based on deeply misguided respect and simple physical fear.

    Does anyone know...? (none / 0) (#15)
    by A DC Wonk on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 12:58:01 PM EST
    ... Bill Donohue and/or the Catholic League have a lot of weight?  If they can sway any voters?

    (Just asking -- I have no idea)

    I don't know but I would guess not. (none / 0) (#16)
    by Florida Resident on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 01:05:18 PM EST