Friday, May 23, 2008


There is an aphorism on flying too close to the flame that John McCain might have observed. In a society whose founders did their best to separate church matters from those of the state, political candidates currently chasing the ultimate license plate, endeavor to draw support from religious movements. They seem to have resurrected the George W. Bush, “Winning Against All Odds” manual, turned to the section on How To Nail Religious Endorsements, and distributed copies of the page titled, Winning With Religious Righteousness. The manual didn’t come with warnings.

John McCain is consuming energy repudiating, rejecting, and generally pulling an Obama on preachers from Texas and Ohio. McCain originally made much of the endorsements, having expended serious effort and money to attain them. It takes some co-ordination to show up in the endorser’s town, and grovel a little, and get to the podium, and give the preacher a hug, and call him a close friend, and wave to the crowd, and smile for the CNN cameras, and show appreciation for support from someone who represents that he’s a man of God, and …    The effort works like magic with an instant lock-up of votes from the whole congregation of a megachurch that numbers into the tens of thousands.

Alright, so McCain is trying hard to make sure he gets some of that far right Republican support that seems to have been skeptical of his political leanings. Now he has to call the Texas preacher’s comments “crazy and unacceptable.” Didn’t he know these people have enormous egos that can sometimes believe their own press, and run themselves off the rails? Is there something not self evident about the meaning of evangelical religious right? Perhaps McCain has forgotten that Obama took a pounding after not immediately and emphatically denouncing Jeremiah Wright following the surfacing of incendiary remarks made by the pastor.

In a strange twist that speaks volumes on the state of religious influence on political elections, the Texas preacher announced he was not only withdrawing his endorsement of McCain, but he was also removing himself from active role in the campaign. You can almost hear Thomas Jefferson’s wistful sigh. Unlike Obama, McCain can claim that neither preacher from whom he has had to separate, was his pastor and religious guide for twenty years. McCain nevertheless faces the possibility of seeing his efforts to solicit the religious vote, turn to negative energy that may weigh on him over the coming months. The wealthy, powerful and influential religious right provides too bright a flame for some political candidates to ignore, even with all its burdensome exigencies. McCain flew too close to that flame. He has also lost any potential leverage he might have otherwise had, revisiting Obama’s questionable judgment on his Jeremiah Wright relationship.

1 comment:

  1. maybe you want to check out this link. April 9th the day no one watched

    what poor timing on my part friday evening dump on a holday weekend. hopefully with no one able to dive this week b/c of gas prices it will be picked up