Ladies and gentlemen, we're hanging a richard into Crazytown.
Barack Obama has never appeared publicly with Louis Farrakhan. He has never endorsed either Farrakhan or the Nation of Islam. As far as I know, he's never even met with Farrakhan one-on-one. Yet because the pastor at Obama's Chicago church has praised Farrakhan in the past, Obama has been called upon repeatedly to distance himself from Farrakhan. Which, in Tuesday night's Democratic debate, he did:
RUSSERT: . . . On Sunday, the headline in your hometown paper, Chicago Tribune: "Louis Farrakhan Backs Obama for President at Nation of Islam Convention in Chicago." Do you accept the support of Louis Farrakhan?
OBAMA: You know, I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments. I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible. I did not solicit this support. He expressed pride in an African-American who seems to be bringing the country together. I obviously can't censor him, but it is not support that I sought. And we're not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan.
RUSSERT: Do you reject his support?
OBAMA: Well, Tim, you know, I can't say to somebody that he can't say that he thinks I'm a good guy. (Laughter.) You know, I -- you know, I -- I have been very clear in my denunciations of him and his past statements, and I think that indicates to the American people what my stance is on those comments. . . .
. . . I have to say I don't see a difference between denouncing and rejecting. There's no formal offer of help from Minister Farrakhan that would involve me rejecting it. But if the word "reject" Senator Clinton feels is stronger than the word "denounce," then I'm happy to concede the point, and I would reject and denounce.
Whatever your opinion on Barack Obama is, you'd have to admit that's a pretty cut-and-dried statement.
So when are we going to get a similarly cut-and-dried statement from straight-talkin' maverick John McCain?
McCain -- as you probably haven't heard, since the media coverage has been negligible -- held a campaign event in San Antonio on Wednesday in which he appeared with John Hagee, founder and pastor of San Antonio's Cornerstone Church. McCain said he was "proud" and "very honored" to receive Hagee's endorsement.
Not familiar with Hagee? Well, here's your chance to familiarize yourself.
Yup, that was the Catholic church Hagee was talking about when he mentioned "the Great Whore of Revelation 17," the "Antichrist system," "the apostate church," a "false cult system" and "Baal worship." And John McCain is "proud" to be associated with this guy.
As a practicing Catholic, of course, I'm personally offended by Hagee's preaching, but my church is hardly the only group he's called out for hellfire and damnation. Two years ago, Hagee said Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment of New Orleans for being overly accepting of gays. In the same interview, he branded all Muslims as killers and said there was no point in negotiating with them. He's denounced the Harry Potter books as contemporary witchcraft. And as far as his feelings about Jewish people, Hagee sounds a lot like, well, Louis Farrakhan.
And this is the man whose endorsement John McCain is "very proud" to have.
The funny thing -- not the funny ha-ha thing, the funny boom-boom thing -- is that over the course of my regularly scheduled blog perusal, I read tons of comments from conservatives grousing about Obama's supposed connections to Farrakhan and saying, "If John McCain had any connections to a nut like this, the liberal media would hang him from a flagpole." Well, guess what, America, John McCain does have connections to a nut just like that -- and nary a peep from the media in 48-plus hours. The only people really bothering to get their respective dander up over this are liberal bloggers like myself and -- cringe -- the Catholic League.
See what you've done, John McCain? I voted for you in the Virginia primary in 2000, and this is how you thank me -- by forcing me to share a common cause with William Donohue. Nice job, assface.
But seriously, it's time for the Washington press corps to get over their love affair with the "maverick" John McCain, and it's time for Mr. Straight Talk to actually get held accountable for something. When talk-radio half-wit Bill Cunningham warmed up a McCain campaign crowd in Ohio earlier this week by shouting borderline slanders of Barack Obama, McCain barely waited for the banners to be taken down at the event before distancing himself from Cunningham. But it's been two days since his appearance with Hagee -- whose bigotry can be discovered in less than 30 seconds' worth of Googling -- and the news of Hagee's endorsement remains proudly displayed on McCain's Web site.
I'm not going to sit here and write McCain off as a bigot, but at best, he's someone who's willing to consort with bigots if he thinks it'll help get him elected. I used to have some respect for McCain and actually believe he was the "maverick" the press portrayed him as, but when I look at him today I see someone who's gotten so fat and happy off his own press clippings that he's decided he can sell his integrity down the river any way he wants and never be taken to task over it. That doesn't demonstrate a whole lot of respect for me or my religion, and it doesn't demonstrate a whole lot of respect for the voters of this country, either.