01 March 2008

Campaign '08: Time for a Gentlemen's Agreement

Senator McCain said the right thing yesterday as controversy arose over the endorsement he received from the Rev. John Hagee, an evangelical crackpot. In response, the Republican said that Hagee's endorsement of him didn't mean that he endorsed Hagee. This is the only sensible response to the controversy. After all, McCain is soliciting votes from tens of millions of Americans. Should he have to answer for the character of everybody who supports him?

Ideally, McCain and the Republicans will learn a lesson from this. We'll know if they have if we never hear another word about Louis Farrakhan for the rest of the campaign season. If we do, then Democrats have every right to make Hagee Farrakhan's running mate, so to speak, and cite his name and his views every time someone questions Farrakhan's endorsement of Senator Obama.

My hunch is that the candidates can work out a gentlemen's agreement to keep quiet about their respective crazy backers. Whether they can enforce such an agreement on all the rogue 527s out there is another matter, but we should hope to hear nothing about Farrakhan or Hagee in any ad that has a candidate's voice saying, "I endorse this message."

By the way, I propose a "gentlemen's agreement" not because I hope to exclude Senator Clinton from any such deal, but because, to my knowledge, she has not been endorsed yet by any religious lunatic. If anyone knows differently, please correct me.

No comments: