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As Long as We Remember...

March 6, 2008

Disqualified Presidential Candidate

Tony Soltero

Our next president will be one of three people – Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or John McCain. Two of them are sound, sane, intelligent, rational people who have the best interests of America at heart, and either of them will make a very fine president.


The third person, on the other hand, possesses a critical quality that disqualifies him from being an effective president. This third person is either mentally deficient, or irretrievably bigoted.


That third person is John McCain. Over the past week, he has demonstrated that he is about as qualified to be president of the United States as he is to fly a rocket ship to Andromeda.


And the problem is crystal clear – he actively sought out (and obtained) the endorsement of one John Hagee, one of the most unhinged, radical crackpots currently infesting our public square. This isn't a case of Mr. Hagee uttering a few nice things about Senator McCain and the senator politely, but firmly, rejecting the endorsement. No, his is a case of John McCain actively courting a man who is a menace to the nation's best interests.


John Hagee is quite a piece of work. Most of the media attention on him (such as it's been) has focused on his blistering attacks on Catholics, as Hagee has called the Roman Catholic Church "the great whore" among other pleasant descriptions. But his bigotry doesn't remotely stop there.


John Hagee is also a Holocaust revisionist, actually insinuating that the Jews brought the Holocaust upon themselves in his book "Jerusalem Countdown:" "How utterly repulsive, insulting, and heartbreaking to God for His chosen people to credit idols with bringing blessings He had showered upon the chosen people. Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come.... it rises from the judgment of God upon his rebellious chosen people."


That's right; to John Hagee, the Jews asked for, and deserved, their own persecution. But I'll give him credit; he's an equal-opportunity bigot, also targeting African-Americans by once holding a so-called "slave sale" at his Texas Cornerstone Church with the come-on pitch "Slavery in America is returning to Cornerstone...make plans to come and go home with a slave." He also blamed Katrina's destruction of New Orleans on gay people.


There's plenty more where that came from, but the picture is clear: John Hagee is an ugly, ugly individual burgeoning with hatred. The kind of person, one would think, that any sane political leader on either side of the political spectrum would shun like the plague, if only to preserve a modicum of credibility.


Political figures get unwelcome and embarrassing endorsements all the time. Barack Obama got one from Louis Farrakhan; Obama firmly and decisively disavowed and rejected the anti-Semite's support, which, of course, he never sought to begin with.


But that's not what John McCain did with John Hagee.


John McCain chased the approval of Mr. Hagee the way a lovesick 16-year-old chases the prom queen. And once he got his endorsement and was questioned about it, he tepidly declared that he doesn't agree with everything Mr. Hagee spews, leaving unanswered the question of what about Mr. Hagee he does agree with.


There are two possibilities here. The first one is that John McCain actually buys into John Hagee's rancid worldview. If that's the case, the kindest thing one could say is that Senator McCain is too far outside mainstream American thought to occupy public office at any level, much less the presidency.


The second one is that John McCain is simply not in full control of his mental faculties, and actually regards John Hagee as just another harmless religious leader.


Either way, it's obvious that John McCain is not presidential material. His chronic dealings with the lobbyist culture he publicly denounces when he wants a headline have already exposed him as a fraud. But that's true of lots of political figures.


His embrace of John Hagee, on the other hand, is scary and unseemly, and incompatible with American values.


John McCain is about as suitable for the White House as Jeffrey Dahmer was for the school board.


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