Don’t Call Him a ‘Moderate’ Anymore
In today’s Washington Post, EJ Dionne speculates that in order to win his party’s nomination in 2008, Sen. John McCain will have to run so far to the right that he’ll alienate independent voters, an essential group of supporters who strongly identify with him as one of their own: conservative on fiscal issues and liberal on social issues.
If Rev. Jerry Falwell is telling the truth, Dionne can stop speculating. The hillbilly mullah told his hometown newspaper that McCain recently assured him that he has reversed his position on gay marriage:
Falwell said McCain has expressed a willingness to support a Federal Marriage Amendment, an issue dear to conservative Christians. The amendment would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Christian conservatives, including Falwell, are concerned about efforts by homosexual groups to have civil unions between same-sex partners recognized as marriages. McCain previously has said the matter of defining marriage should be handled by state legislatures, but now concedes that a federal statute may be necessary, Falwell said.
It is unclear whether the Lynchburg News-Advance sought a confirmation of Falwell’s claim from McCain or his office.
In 2000, McCain won the New Hampshire primary against George Bush, the Texas governor, but when the campaign moved to South Carolina, McCain suffered a self-inflicted wound when he criticized the religious right, mentioning Falwell specifically:
Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right,” McCain said at the time.
McCain lost big in South Carolina and Virginia and was soon out of the race, clearing the field for the Worst Presidency Ever.
Now all is forgiven between Falwell and McCain, according to the reverend. He has even invited McCain to speak at Liberty College in May:
“I was in Washington with him about three months ago,” Falwell said. “We dealt with every difference we have. There are no deal breakers now. But I told him, ‘You have a lot of fence mending to do.’”
Another issue McCain will have to confront is his advanced age. He will turn 72 in 2008, making him three years older than Ronald Reagan when he elected in 1980. He would be 77 at reelection time in 2012, and 81 if he finished a second term.