Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sitting in a Tree

John and Jerry, that is. You can fill in the blank as to what they are up to. As Paul Krugman puts it:

Senator John McCain obviously believes that he can't get the Republican presidential nomination without Mr. Falwell's approval. During the 2000 campaign, Mr. McCain denounced Mr. Falwell and the Rev. Pat Robertson as "agents of intolerance." But next month Mr. McCain will be a commencement speaker at Liberty University, which Mr. Falwell founded.

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So what has happened since the 2000 campaign to convince Mr. McCain that Mr. Falwell is not, in fact, an agent of intolerance?

Maybe it was Mr. Falwell's TV appearance with Mr. Robertson on Sept. 13, 2001, during which the two religious leaders agreed that the terrorist attack two days earlier was divine punishment for American immorality. "God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve," said Mr. Falwell, who also declared, "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the A.C.L.U., People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.' "

Or maybe it was Mr. Falwell's appearance on "60 Minutes" in October 2002, when he declared, "I think Muhammad was a terrorist." Muhammad, he said, was "a violent man" — unlike Mr. Falwell, I guess, who said of terrorists that we should "blow them all away in the name of the Lord."

* * * *

As for Mr. McCain: his denunciation of Mr. Falwell and Mr. Robertson six years ago helped give him a reputation as a moderate on social issues. Now that he has made up with Mr. Falwell and endorsed South Dakota's ban on abortion even in the case of rape or incest, only two conclusions are possible: either he isn't a social moderate after all, or he's a cynical political opportunist.

My opinion of McCain, as I've expressed many times, see, e.g. He's Not the Right Man, is that he's both -- a cynical opportunist who's merely pretended to be a moderate.

I knew that Jon Stewart would have to something to say on the subject. He, however, sees a better side of McCain than I think is there. Maybe not so much any more. Now that McCain's admitted that he's gone into the "crazy base world." See: Citizen McCain (via OneGoodMove).

(Krugman article available here, Feministe, if you don't have access to NYT)

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