Republican John McCain on Thursday rejected endorsements from two influential but controversial televangelists, saying there is no place for their incendiary criticisms of other faiths.Of course, being the political animal that he is, Mr. McCain couldn't resist trying to draw a distinction between his situation and that of Barack Obama and Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
McCain rejected the months-old endorsement of Texas preacher John Hagee after an audio recording surfaced in which the preacher said God sent Adolf Hitler to help Jews reach the promised land. McCain called the comment "crazy and unacceptable."
He later repudiated the support of Rod Parsley, an Ohio preacher who has sharply criticized Islam and called the religion inherently violent.
He added that his relationship with Hagee did not compare with Obama’s lengthy association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. “I have said I do not believe Senator Obama shares Reverend Wright's extreme views. But let me also be clear, Reverend Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual advisor, and I did not attend his church for twenty years. I have denounced statements he made immediately upon learning of them, as I do again today,” said McCain.Nice try. The real difference is that Sen. McCain didn't know John Hagee from a load of hay before his campaign actively went out and sought his endorsement because he was so desperate to suck up to the Religious Reich. As for Mr. Parsley, Mr. McCain referred to this venom-spitting hater as his spiritual adviser. Now he's acting like he doesn't know either of them; kind of like a guy who walks past the rent boy he hooked up with the night before and pretends like he has no idea who he is.
Of course, you do have to give the GOP credit for being able to out-do the Democrats once again: whereas Mr. Obama had one fiery pastor, they have two. I'll say this for Barack Obama; at least when he dumped Jeremiah Wright -- and over a lot less controversial statements than Hitler being the arm of God's relocation plan or the defeat of Islam being the impetus of the American Revolution -- he did it with a lot of soul searching and the pain that someone goes through when they have to disassociate themselves from someone in their lives and who, at one point, was a guiding light in his life.
As for Mr. McCain and the pastors, it's not personal, it's just business. But makes you really wonder how long it's going to take the evangelicals to figure out that once again they're being played as useful idiots by the Republicans. It's not like the bible-voters will turn around and vote for the Democrats en masse, but it might make them aware of the fact that there are more important things at stake in this election than whether or not Ellen DeGeneres gets married.