You can almost see John McCain raising his eyebrows and rolling his eyes at the instructions his campaign undoubtedly gave him to reject John Hagee’s endorsement. Of course he knows of Hagee’s comments, (the alternative is he is hopelessly out of touch). The real issue, I think, is he really doesn’t care. McCain’s alliance with christian evangelicals is much more superficial than is Bush’s relationship with them. Bush’s relationship with the christian right may well prove to have been yet another act of extreme cynicism, but with McCain, it is more an act of short term political expediency. I don’t think he cares one whit about Hagee. I do think he solicited the Hagee endorsement because he needed the votes of religious conservatives, and thought it would help.
Still, since McCain obviously knew about Hagee’s comments while at the same time suggesting today was the first he had heard of Hagee’s anti semitic, anti gay rhetoric, McCain once again has lied about another important association in his campaign.
Again, the alternative to having lied is that McCain simply doesn’t pay attention (not a good sign) and nobody in his campaign bothered to inform him about Hagee’s irrationally nutty comments about Hitler and Jews (Hitler a prophet?), and hurricanes and gays (another foreboding sign of incompetence, of import now b/c general election aides often become WH aides).
Further, McCain’s rejection of Hagee is accompanied by a cheap comparison to Obama and Jeremiah Wright, “i’m not comparing this to Obama and Wright, but…” Sort of high schoolish, and hypocritical. It matters not the level of attachment between these candidates and these religious figures, for McCain, the import comes down to the fact that he criticizes Obama for denying he knew about comments that, he says, Obama most likely knew full well about. (On this narrow count, McCain might well be right; but I would add the caveat that Obama’s relationship with Wright is real–unlike McCain’s with Hagee– and complex — unlike McCain’s superficial act of expediency–). McCain loses any leverage on this issue because he just made the same mistake–
The point here is that McCain’s comments today continue to harden a rhetorical pattern of denying things he knows about or, in the alternative he is again so out of the loop as to raise pressing questions about his fitness to serve as president. Either way, the MSM would do well to notice.