Hey, before I get to my post, I know this was in the news last week but I was sick in bed with a mild case of the flu. I tried to blog but just couldn’t. Please see a picture of me here in bed with flu like symptoms.
OK, that’s really not me. It’s The Brody File ghost writer. But I really was sick. Now, on to the Hagee endorsement…
First, before some analysis, let me set the stage with this Associated Press article that just came out this morning:
Endorsed by an influential Texas televangelist, Republican John McCain endeared himself to one group of voters but risked alienating another with the pastor's anti-Catholic views.
The controversy has been mild so far, but still, every vote counts in a presidential election that is expected to be closely contested.
Evangelical or born-again Christian voters were key to George W. Bush's victories, but so were Roman Catholics, who chose Bush over their fellow Catholic John Kerry in 2004 and over Al Gore in 2000.
The televangelist, San Antonio megachurch leader John Hagee, has referred to the Roman Catholic Church as "the great whore" and called it a "false cult system" and "the apostate church"; the word "apostate" means someone who has forsaken his religion.
He also has linked Adolf Hitler to the Catholic church, suggesting it helped shape his anti-Semitism.
Catholic groups are pressuring McCain to reject the endorsement, which he announced at a news conference with Hagee last week. The Democratic National Committee also is publicizing Hagee's views.
"Indeed, for the past few decades, he has waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church," said Catholic League President Bill Donohue.
"Senator Obama has repudiated the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan, another bigot," Donohue said. "McCain should follow suit and retract his embrace of Hagee."
He was referring to Barack Obama, who said he would "reject and denounce" any help from Farrakhan when pressed in last week's Democratic presidential debate.
It remains to be seen how much Hagee's views may hurt McCain's standing among Catholics, a group that can hardly be considered monolithic. Though they lean Republican, their views span the political spectrum and split nearly evenly along party lines.
The whole article is here.
McCain has come and basically said just because someone endorses me doesn’t mean I agree with him on everything. Here’s part of what he said about Hagee at a recent press conference:
"Well I think it's important to note that pastor John Hagee who has supported and endorsed my candidacy supports what I stand for and believe in. When he endorses me, it does not mean that I embrace everything that he stands for and believes. And I am very proud of the Pastor John Hagee's spiritual leadership to thousands of people and I am proud of his commitment to the independence and the freedom of the state of Israel. That does not mean that I support or endorse or agree with some of the things that Pastor John Hagee might have said or positions that he may have taken on other issues. I don't have to agree with everyone who endorses my candidacy. They are supporting my candidacy. I am not endorsing some of their positions."
I think John McCain is doing what every politician would probably do in this situation. He’s managing the situation as a politician would until he absolutely has to come out and be even more forceful. In other words, if the New York Times or Newsweek or 60 Minutes did a story about it, then McCain will be on the spot to get more specific about what he agrees with and what he doesn’t. He would then feel more pressure to do something. The Democratic National Committee and Howard Dean are putting pressure on him but he won’t take his cues from them. If the mainstream media continues to harp on it or if Pastor Hagee makes another controversial comment, then McCain will have to deal with it and get down in the weeds a little further.