Presidential candidate John McCain’s pastor problems are bubbling up again, with Reverend John Hagee, whose support and endorsement McCain has actively sought, reversing last week’s retraction of remarks he made in 2006 blaming the destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina on a planned gay pride parade.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann pointed out Hagee’s reversal and also noted that McCain recently had a photo op at a plaque honoring New York firefighters who died on 9/11. Another McCain supporter, the late Reverend Jerry Falwell, famously blamed 9/11 on “the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays” and threatened that it could happen again if “God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve.”
Olbermann then asked Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson to comment on how McCain is pulling off “one of the great political magic tricks of all time” by making these questionable connections disappear.
Robinson agreed that Hagee “is a complete lunatic [who] makes Jeremiah Wright sound fairly mainstream, yet McCain seems to get away with this.”
“I don’t see how how McCain … can continue to pretend that Hagee’s not out there,” Robinson continued. “There is a kind of demagoguery gap … Republicans are much better at demogoguing these issues than Democrats are. … Democrats remain tethered to things like objective fact and fairness. But by any standard, there are parallels here that are going to have to be addressed.”
“What is the difference in how McCain and Obama are seen that puts Reverend Wright on the front page and Reverend Hagee nowhere at all?” Olbermann asked. “Is it as simple as black and white?”
Robinson explained that research has shown that “members of one group tend to look at members of a different group and think they have more in common with each other than they necessarily do. … People look at these two black guys, a pastor and Obama, and tend to think they have more in common.”