Geese, Ganders and Endorsements…Oh My!
At Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate in Cleveland, Tim Russert, as is his wont, decided to try to catch Brack Obama in an uncomfortable position by asking him about the recent endorsement his campaign received from infamous Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan. Hillary Clinton jumped on the bandwagon and asked that Obama both “reject and denounce” the endorsement, which he did (Obama also did not seek Farrakhan’s endorsement). John Marshall has more.
Fast forward a few day to Texas. There, a Latina voter who is supporting Clinton, declared that she would not support Obama because his, “…problem is that he happens to be black”. Clinton was given the chance to reject and denounce…and well, she didn’t.
The Clinton example above is pretty much a classic case of “do as I say, not as I do”. But the basic construct here is the same…both Clinton and Obama were asked to account for the actions of private citizens who have nothing to do with their campaigns and neither sought the endorsements of said individuals other than through standard means of campaigning.
Contrast the above (and the emerging lines of attack coming out of the Farrakhan flap) with the relative media silence surrounding John McCain’s endorsement by evangelical, mega church pastor John Hagee. Hagee is a major player in the Christian Right and so it makes sense that McCain would seek approval from a portion of the base that is wary of his bona fides as a conservative and McCain noted that he was “very proud” to have received Hagee’s endorsement. However, Hagee, as Glenn Greenwald points out, has aired some rather nasty views about Muslims and Catholics (among others).
There is no question that Obama’s campaign would be virtually dead in the water if he had sought Farrakhan’s endorsement and paraded it around as something that he was “very proud” to have. McCain’s public embrace of a man who has said that the Catholic Church is “The Great Whore “ and that those who follow Islam and live by the Koran “have a scriptural mandate to kill Christians and Jews” has, as of now, not produced the same level of media scrutiny.
So, again…why is this overlooked? Obama rejects the endorsement of a vile person and it’s a news story. McCain accepts something similar and nary a word from the talking heads.
Apparently what is good for the goose is not so good for the gander
Updated: Glenn Greenwald notes that a few mainstream media organizations are starting to look into the story.
Josh Marshall has McCain’s weak sauce statement on Hagee.
As Josh says, “So he welcomes Hagee’s endorsement for president, though that doesn’t mean he agree with all his views.”