Friday, February 29

Checking out the passenger manifest on the Straight Talk Express.

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.


Josh M. said...

To be fair, the media isn't featuring anything on any Republican. Hell, if I didn't read your blog, I wouldn't even know there was a Republican nomination to be had.

Oh, and your day is coming, Great Whore.

Anonymous said...

How does a church get to be 'apostate' and a cult when it was there first?

Robert said...

So...let me get this straight. According to Hagee, I broke up with the Catholic Church in December?

Anonymous said...

John McCain, February 28, 2008

"Yesterday, Pastor John Hagee endorsed my candidacy for president in San Antonio, Texas. However, in no way did I intend for his endorsement to suggest that I in turn agree with all of Pastor Hagee's views, which I obviously do not.

"I am hopeful that Catholics, Protestants and all people of faith who share my vision for the future of America will respond to our message of defending innocent life, traditional marriage, and compassion for the most vulnerable in our society."

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Anonymous, let's say Barack Obama appeared on stage with Louis Farrakhan in Chicago on Wednesday, saying he was "pleased and proud" to accept Farrakhan's endorsement. The entire country shits a collective brick, so on Friday he issues a statement like the one above.

Do you feel any better?

Anonymous said...

What is it with you people that you have to be martyrs? I agree with very little that HRC has to say, but she is right that your guy is getting pretty much a free ride from the press and the Farrakhan thing hardly registers with anyone. Plus he got the opportunity to make HRC look silly in the whole exchange. He came out on top of that one. Since when is Tim Russert a member of the vast right wing conspiracy?

I think you're overlooking that fact that attacking the Catholic Church and attacking Jews are two entirely different things. No one is out there calling for the wholesale slaying of Catholics (excepting maybe some fringe Northern Irish). The Jews on the other hand have a real problem. Catholics are no longer discriminated against in any meaningful way in the US or the world. You can't say the same for Jews. It's perfectly ok for people to screech hate speech against whites in this country, because whites don't need protection. The same goes for Catholics. Also overlooked is the fact that Farrakhan is a world famous hate-monger. Hagee is small time. Of course Farrakhan is going to make the news. No one knows who the hell Hagee is, so no one cares.

The only people blowing these things out of proportion are the wingnuts on both sides of the spectrum spouting off on blogs. I've been reading your blog for over 4 years and I've seen you right some pretty hateful things about social conservatives (not to mention GA Tech fans). Does that make you a bigot and therefore Obama should denounce your support? This all falls into the category of it doesn't mean shit.

And you really should get off your high horse on the doing anything to get elected drivel. The pandering that Obama and Clinton were both engaging in over NAFTA in the debates was classic.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

The difference, Steven, is that Barack Obama is being required to reject support he never asked for in the first place. He's never even met with Farrakhan in person, yet even after his explicit repudiation of Farrakhan in the debate, the media is still doing stories trying to conjure up some secret connection between him and the Nation of Islam.

Meanwhile, McCain seeks out the support of a virulent bigot -- who has said disgusting things about both Jews and Catholics -- and gets a free ride.

The rhetoric Hagee has spewed is every bit as hateful and bat-shit crazy as Farrakhan, and the fact that more people know who Farrakhan is is completely irrelevant. If Hagee was an African-American or a Muslim, he'd be excoriated all over the place for being a vicious hatemonger, but as a white Protestant he can be as hateful as he wants and not only does the press basically ignore him, he gets a personal audience with a major-party presidential candidate. It's yet another media double standard that John McCain appears quite happy to take advantage of.

Anonymous said...

Which legitimate media "is still doing stories trying to conjure up some secret connection between him and the Nation of Islam."? I haven't seen any respected outlets doing these stories.

The press ignores Hagee because he's a nobody. The white Protestant hatemongers who are or were somebody get plenty of coverage. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell if he were still alive do get coverage. Will Obama at some point in this campaign, if he hasn't already, stand on the stage with the Rev. Al Sharpton? Shit, he spoke at the 04 Democratic Convention. There's a hatemonger for you.

John McCain is already getting more scrutiny than Obama from the press and you can count on that continuing. Obama is pretty much getting a free ride at this point from the MSM. The papers are full of stories of Obama's enthusiastic crowds and brilliant campaigning and how Clinton has blown it. A Farrakhan story is a softball lobbed to him so he can hit it out of the park, which he did. Russert did him a favor.

Josh M. said...

Now come on, when it comes to a news organization giving coverage to a story, you absolutely know the identities of the participants have EVERYTHING to do with how much coverage it gets.

The name "Louis Farrakhan" is immediately recognized by 90% of the nation, while "John Hagee" is by less than 1%. You're fooling yourself if you think that doesn't play a part.

If the names were all reversed here, and you inserted "David Duke" for McCain and some unknown guy for Obama, the coverage would also be reversed.

I'm not saying this makes anything right, but it is definitely the answer to the media coverage question.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Both of you are dealing in hypotheticals -- "Will Obama stand on the stage with Sharpton," "If you inserted David Duke for blah blah blah." I'm talking about what actually happened: John McCain "proudly" accepted the endorsement of a guy who called my church "the Great Whore." Yet because he's a "nobody," that apparently makes it OK. (Just out of curiosity, if he's such a nobody, why'd John McCain seek out his public endorsement?)

And yes, Steve, the media are still wringing every last drop out of the Obama-Farrakhan non-story -- Lou Dobbs did a whole segment on it last night, and it was a topic of extended conversation on "Late Edition" today (there's that left-wing CNN for you).

Josh M. said...

We're arguing two different things, and I for one am not arguing that McCain should be let off any hook.

When it comes to media coverage, though, OF COURSE more attention is going to be paid to the big name (Farrakhan) over the nobody (Hagee). And yes, Hagee is a comparative nobody on a national scale, and these are national news organizations you're talking about.

I mean, are we really discussing whether Obama is getting favorable coverage? For every one story exploring the Farrakhan angle, there are 500 others exploring the underside of Obama's dick with their tongues.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Look, I'm not denying that Obama has been getting tons of favorable coverage; being the frontrunner gets you that. But in this instance, the media is employing a pretty disgraceful double standard. And maybe it has less to do with animosity toward Obama than it does with the mainstream media's love affair with the "straight-talkin' maverick" persona McCain has crafted for himself, but either way, it's embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

As a fellow Catholic, here is how I look at it. One, I can't believe you are really personally offended by Hagee. That sounds good, but you are too sophisticated to be offended by a blow hard Texas preacher. Pure hyperbole. Two, the Catholic Church has a history of killing and persecuting people so the fact that people are skeptical or down right hostile should surprise no one and we've earned it. Three, the media knows there is no legs to a story about a Republican candidate pandering to the religious fringe during a presidential election. Every candidate that I can remember from Ford to McCain have done it and the people as a whole don't give a shit. Wacko Christians are not considered a threat to America (I'm sure you can come up with an argument otherwise), wacko Muslims are. Four, CNN has been and continues to be a piece of shit network, nobody watches it and maybe they think they can compete with FOX for fair and balanced. AND FOX isn't making hay over it. I read the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun and NY Times. None are covering the Farrikhan story beyond day one. Five, All candidates for president do and say things they don't necessarily agree with to get elected. If you think that Obama is above that, you're fooling yourself. Here is a non-hypothetical... Do you really think that Obama will opt out unilaterally from NAFTA? He said he would. Did he really mean it or was he just licking labor's anus in Ohio?

Anonymous said...

Interesting post Doug. However, you know and I know that McCain is not one that the Christian Right feels all warm and fuzzy over. Plus, he stated publicly that he doesnt endorse all this idiots views. Unfortunately the Christian Right tends to act very unchristian like at times and McCain aint cozy with these people. That alone should make you rethink your position about supporting JM. However, politics makes strange bedfellows - just wondering why you would support a pro-abortion candidate like Obama over McCain?

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Because Democrats, for all the "baby-killer" epithets thrown their way, actually do a better job of stopping abortions than Republicans do. Democrats implement sensible sex-ed programs in high schools and fund public-health programs without regard to politics; Republicans implement abstinence-only sex ed that gives kids information about sex ed that is both inaccurate and inadequate, and then when teenagers get pregnant anyway -- which they do, to an extent greater than teens who attend standard sex-ed classes -- the Republicans just throw up their hands and mutter about what sluts our teenage girls are.

No, Democrats don't fight for an outright ban on abortion the way Republicans do, but think about it -- we banned alcohol in the '20s; how'd that work out? We've banned drugs for decades; how's that working out?

Passing a blanket ban on abortions isn't going to result in that many fewer abortions. It only means that more women will be going into back alleys and disreputable fly-by-night clinics to get abortions, and contracting all kinds of horrible (potentially fatal) infections as a result.

You might be interested to know that the abortion rate in this country has been declining steadily since the early 1980s. Care to guess which president saw the fastest decrease in abortions under his administration?

Josh M. said...

More abortions = less dumbass kids.

I say make 'em free.

Joshua said...

So far, I'm scoring this for steve and anonymous. Anonymous did bring up abortion, but Doug took it and ran with it since the original line of debate wasn't going so well for the Chancellour of the Sexchequeur.

Anonymous said...

While I wish Josh was right, I don't think he really is. Most dumbass kids are being produced by the dumbass parents who should be getting abortions and don't. There really should be some form of "means test", and I don't mean financial alone, you must pass before procreating.

Anonymous said...

I didn't hear Hagee in this clip, nor have I been able to find any evidence of Hagee, calling for violence against Catholics, a faith to which I belong. The same cannot be said for Farrakhan or even Sharpton. Hagee is a moron, and McCain distance himself from his views. And yes, the press will likely pick this up soon anyway.

And to your point-
"Both of you are dealing in hypotheticals -- 'Will Obama stand on the stage with Sharpton,'"

I'm just sayin'....

Anonymous said...

Obama looks "proud" and "very honored" to me.

Anonymous said...

I only brought up the abortion issue since I was just interested in Dougs viewpoint. I wouldnt expect most Catholics to have such a liberal view towards abortion. I would consider myself a realist and definitely agree that sex ed is a must for the kids. But c'mon Doug in the age of the internet dont you think that the kids cant find out what is going on. I mean I remember when I grew up in a small Kansas town in the 70s and we had sex ed taught back then - y'know Bob Dole country. I think kids find out more info at a much earlier age than I did back then.
Being against abortions doesnt necessarily equate to being pro-back alley abortions. Doug, you cant seriously think that it was the great moral leadership of Bill Clinton that led to the decrease of abortions (BTW, I voted for him twice). If you do, then you are getting what you deserve from Obama. Cause he will bring change. Whatever that means

KentAllard said...

You might be surprised at a lot of Catholics' attitude toward abortion. A lot of Protestants and other non-Catholics see every Catholic marching in lockstep on every issue, but the reality is far different. And, while I certainly wouldn't go so far as to say Catholics are discriminated against, you do get some weird looks when you tell people you're Catholic here in Alabama. It's possible I get those looks because I am weird, in full disclosure)

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