Senator Hothead: Out of the Fire, Into the Brimstone
John W. McCain crept ever so slowly away from the loving embrace of Rapturist nutcase John Hagee today.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Friday repudiated any views of a prominent televangelist who endorsed him last month "if they are anti-Catholic or offensive to Catholics."
McCain has come under fire since televangelist John Hagee endorsed him on Feb. 27, but until Friday his response had been tepid. The Arizona senator merely said he doesn't agree with everyone who endorses him. He said Friday he had been hearing from Catholics who find Hagee's comments offensive.
Hagee, leader of a San Antonio megachurch, has referred to the Roman Catholic Church as "the great whore" and called it a "false cult system" and "the apostate church" — "apostate" means someone who has forsaken his religion.
On Friday, McCain took a stronger stance on Hagee's views in an interview with The Associated Press.
"We've had a dignified campaign, and I repudiate any comments that are made, including Pastor Hagee's, if they are anti-Catholic or offensive to Catholics," McCain said [...]
He was responding to one critic in particular, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, who raised the issue in a Thursday conference call with reporters.
"She made the attack. I am responding by saying that I am against discrimination and anti-Semitism, anti-Catholic, anything racial, and I have proved that on the campaign trail," McCain said.
Pelosi did close the circle on this. Without her making it an issue, McCain had no reason to distance himself. But of course, this is just the beginning. I know Republicans wouldn't be satisfied with their opponent picking and choosing what comments to repudiate. They would bring up every single statement and demand a pound of flesh after another.
The idea that anti-Catholicism is the only spot on Hagee's record is just nuts. He believes that Jews are responsible for their own persecution, including the Holocaust, for turning away from God on MOUNT SINAI. Wow, way to hold a grudge, O Lord. This, of course, wasn't enough for Abe Foxman to actually condemn Hagee, but mainstream Jewish groups have, and Hagee has pissed off multiple religious and ethnic groups in his day, so this isn't going away.
Furthermore, on the same day that McCain moves away from Hagee, he heads right into the belly of the beast.
Sen. John McCain, in his post-victory debut before the conservative movement's top donors and leaders, will address the Council for National Policy's annual winter meeting here today.
His remarks at the event, which has always been closed to the public and will have only a partial accommodation of the press this year for the first time, could turn out to be his make-or-break pitch for support from some of the right's most influential critics of his past positions and policies.
"This is the most distinguished collection of conservative leaders and donors, and he was anxious to appear as part of his ongoing effort to consolidate support for his candidacy within the conservative movement," said Charlie Black, Mr. McCain's campaign adviser.
Maybe Black was doing lobbying work on the Straight Talk Express instead of brushing up on the Council for National Policy. Because I'd use a lot of words to describe them, but "distinguished" is not one of them. Here's a useful primer:
CNP was conceived in 1981 by at least five fathers, including the Rev. Tim LaHaye, an evangelical preacher who was then the head of the Moral Majority. (LaHaye is the co-author of the popular Left Behind series that predicts and subsequently depicts the Apocalypse). Nelson Baker Hunt, billionaire son of billionaire oilman H.L. Hunt (connected to both the John Birch Society and to Ronald Reagan's political network), businessman and one-time murder suspect T. Cullen Davis, and wealthy John Bircher William Cies provided the seed money.
Top Republicans were quickly recruited to fill in the gaps; hard-right thinkers met up with sympathetic politicians. And suddenly, the right had a counterpart to liberal policy groups. Christian activist Paul Weyrich took responsibility for bringing together the best minds of conservatism, and his imprint on the group's mission is unmistakable: It provided a forum for religiously engaged conservative Christians to influence the geography of American political power.
The current Executive Director of the CNP is Kerry Purple Heart band-aid guru Morton Blackwell, and here are some others:
Some well-known figures affiliated with the CNP include Rev. Jerry Falwell, anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly and the Rev. Pat Robertson. But its the lesser-known CNP mainstays that are more indicative of the organization's politics. They include:
Richard Shoff, a former Ku Klux Klan leader in Indiana.
John McGoff, an ardent supporter of the former apartheid South African regime.
R.J. Rushdoony, the theological leader of America's "Christian Reconstruction" movement, which advocates that Christian fundamentalists take "dominion" over America by abolishing democracy and instituting Old Testament Law. Rushdoony's Reconstructionalists believe that "homosexuals . . . adulterers , blasphemers, astrologers and others will be executed," along with disobedient children.
Reed Larson, head of anti-union National Right to Work Committee.
Don Wildmon, TV censorship activist and accused anti-Semite.
Lieutenant-Colonel Oliver North, Major General John K. Singlaub and other principals from the Iran-Contra Scandal.
And McCain thinks that distancing himself from Hagee and going to talk to THESE GUYS is going to fly?
Americans United for Separation of Church and State has a lot more. CNP is basically where the furthest of far-right agenda leaders, the "let them eat cake" anti-government crowd and the Christian Dominionist crowd, meet to network and strategize. George W. Bush met with them in 1999. The transcript was never released. What did McSame say?