Louis Farakhan endorsed Barack Obama, though Obama neither sought nor welcomed the endorsement. Nonetheless, as must all black politicians, he was forced to go through the ritual of denouncing him, most recently at the hands of the loathsome Tim Russert, during a debate with Hillary. John McCain, having traveled a long way from his remarks correctly characterizing Jerry Falwell as an agent of intolerance, sought out the endorsement of one John Hagee, who makes old Jerry and Pat look positively laid back. This video from TPM tells the story:
Besides putting the lie to the media trope that McCain is a Republican maverick, this video illustrates the double standard to which the media adheres, and secondarily reminds us of the inability of the Democrats to push their message through the media, or even to recognize the opportunity to do so.
Obama was forced to disassociate himself from someone with whom he had never associated; McCain gets by with simply pointing out that he doesn’t necessarily agree with everyone who supports him. Quite true, but of course it misses the point. McCain sought out Hagee’s endorsement, thereby associating himself with Hagee. He has repeatedly said he is proud of that endorsement, again associating himself with Hagee. He has, in effect, endorsed Hagee, and Hagee is every bit the bigot (and then some) that Farakhan is. Imagine if Obama had sought out a Farakhan endorsement. Would we ever hear the end of it?
We know from experience here in Connecticut that the endorsement of a controversial black person (especially a left wing black person) makes that politicians fair game for endless attacks. Remember hypocritical Joe Lieberman’s attacks on Ned Lamont for getting Al Sharpton’s endorsement, after Joe had tried but failed to get it for himself? Since Joe has been an honorable media Republican for some time, had Joe gotten the nod from Al, it would have been a non-story. But since Ned did, we, in fact, never did hear the end of it.
But we will most definitely hear the end of the Hagee endorsement, unless, that is the Democrats finally learn to push a point in unison like the Republicans always do. To them, Moveon is totally tainted by the actions of one contributor, and Kos can be condemned for the words on one commenter. The press amplifies their message, as do the hapless Democrats, who line up to condemn their own. But no Republican will condemn John McCain for seeking the endorsement of a bigot, and quite likely the Democrats will simply let the issue fade. Why this is so is a mystery, when the could gain a lot of Catholic votes by pushing it.