Tristero at Digby's place makes a point:
Nor, despite the size of his congregation, is Hagee the real issue. McCain's character is. A fool who would actively seek out this loon's endorsement. A moral coward - yes, coward - who would equivocate about denouncing such ideas and the bigots who hold them.
Such a person is not a serious candidate for president.
I would think so too, except for one thing: I know better. For 5 years my two main clients were evangelical mega-churches that also had recording studios. I ate lunch with these people, listened to their rants, and have a really clear picture of their beliefs.
Here's the point Tristero misses, which is the idiot-savant genius of McCain's campaign: No one on the right, NO ONE, cares about Hagee, with the possible exception of a few moderate genuine conservatives, that is. All 3 of them.
But the far-right Evangelical end-times Christians, for whom Hagee is a dog whistle the size of a Marshall stack, will still support McCain, even more now than before. Not only is he a "true believer" by courting and wedding Hagee, but now he's been bloodied by the secular humanists that threaten the Christian way of life. His rejection of Hagee's support isn't a betrayal of Hagee's prophecy, but a tactical retreat in the face of the abortionists, school desegregationists. and gay-marriage supporters whose defeat his administration will hopefully bring about. And thus is a stronger hero born.
The only problem might be Hagee's perceived anti-Semitism, which is only a problem for Jews. Because the evangelical Far-right and its ministers like Hagee don't give one golden crap about actual Jews. To them, Jews are indeed God's chosen people, who will still likely not get into Heaven unless they become, you know, Christians. But because they're Chosen, fundies pay lip service to them. You don't want to piss off the Big Guy. It's like going to a party at the creepy rich kid's house because he has a swimming pool.
And to them, Israel isn't an actual country with actual people. Instead, it's the Armageddon battleground, sacred for what it promises them in salvation. Anyone else left after the final battle is dust, not worthy of consideration. Including the Jews.
For movement conservatives, the Hagee deal is just noise. They have issues with McCain, but the hyper-religious don't matter to them except as pawns who vote. It's a macrocosm of the evangelicals and the Jews; the larger group views the smaller one as somewhat useful, but in the end, merely a means to that end.
So McCain won a demographic, scorns one of their icons, yet still walks away with their support. Imagine if Obama asked for the support of Noam Chomsky, then rejected it. Many on the left would be righteously indignant. But it's OK if you're a Republican. Karl Rove would be proud.
Hey wait . . .
A top McCain adviser said both Mehlman and Rove are now informally advising the campaign. Rove refused to detail his conversation with McCain.
Yeah, that's what I thought.