McCain Drops Pastors Like They’re Hot

mccain and hagee
Hagee, left; older gentleman. Photo: AP


What is it with troublesome pastors and presidential candidates? We all know Barack Obama was forced to eventually break ties with that rapscallion Reverend Wright, but yesterday John McCain rejected the endorsement and support of not one but two crazy pastors! John Hagee had been creating controversy for a while — calling Catholicism the "Great Whore" is bound to rile a few people, like Catholics. As is claiming Hurricane Katrina was punishment for New Orleans's gayness. But when it surfaced this week that Hagee apparently once claimed in a sermon that Hitler and the Holocaust were part of God's plan for coaxing the Jews into Israel, McCain decided that was about enough. But while he was rolling, he let go of another pastor, too, Reverend Rod Parsley, of Ohio, whose statement that Islam (among other things) is an "anti-Christ religion that intends through violence to conquer the world" was played on Good Morning America yesterday. So what are people saying about McCain's pastor dumping?

• Jonathan Martin thinks it's a shrewd move to dump these pastors now, while the media is mostly distracted by veep talk and his own medical records, and it's far enough from the general election that it will likely be forgotten by voters. [Politico]

• Josh Marshall says he doesn't think McCain knew about the Hitler statements, but given all the other things Hagee has said, it really shouldn't have come as a surprise. [Talking Points Memo]

• Matthew Yglesias wonders if this could be the beginning of a "high-risk, high-reward" McCain strategy of separating himself from the party (as conservatives have "nowhere else to go") and appealing to voters in the middle. [Atlantic]

• Holly Bailey thinks it's a guarantee that people are digging for more pastor gold and that we probably haven't heard the last of Hagee. [Stumper/Newsweek]

• John Nichols isn't sure what Hagee's de-endorsement of McCain really means. Hagee still believes McCain is "the candidate most in line with his religious and political views," which should be what concerns people. [Campaign '08/Nation]

• Eve Fairbanks concurs. What is a "de-endorsement"? [Stump/New Republic]

• Matt Lewis thinks the "attacks" on Hagee are liberal payback for the Reverend Wright affair and an attempt to win over some skeptical Jewish voters. He's disappointed that McCain didn't show more "toughness." [Town Hall]

• Dan Gilgof places McCain's latest stumble in the context of his overall "ham handed approach to dealing with the Christian Right and with handling religious matters generally." The Hagee disaster will likely make McCain even more hesitant to reach out to the religious right later in the campaign. [God-o-Meter/BeliefNet]

• Domenico Montanaro posits that maybe McCain's "anxiousness about Evangelical support" caused him to jump the gun on these endorsements and not properly vet them first. [First Read/MSNBC] —Dan Amira

Earlier: Ellen DeGeneres Makes John McCain All Uncomfortable About Gay Marriage

For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.