John McCain, pander bear

Perhaps McCain now thinks he was wrong to class Jerry Falwell with Louis Farrakhan. If so, he should say so, and tell us why. If not, we’re left to draw our own conclusions about why he’s the commencement speaker at Falwell’s madrassa.

In 2000, when John McCain was running for President and Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell were working for George W. Bush, McCain laid some of his famous”straight talk” on Robertson and Falwell:

Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton on the left or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right,

adding,

…we embrace the fine members of the religious conservative community. But that does not mean that we will pander to their self-appointed leaders.

That was then. This is now.

Now, McCain would like to have some of the fundamentalist vote, to go along with the neo-Confederate vote he’s still paying Richard Quinn of Southern Partisan magazine to round up for him.

So McCain is pandering as hard as he can. He’s agreed to be the commencement speaker at Liberty University, the Bible-college-on-steroids Falwell founded and still runs: a “university” which, as a matter of stated policy, hires only “born-agains” as faculty members.

Perhaps McCain now thinks he was wrong to class Falwell with Farrakhan. If so, he should say so, and tell us why. If not, we’re left to draw our own conclusions about why he’s speaking at Falwell’s madrassa.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com