In 2000, John McCain solidified his "maverick" reputation by lambasting the Religious Right. He labeled Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "agents of intolerance" and decried the Right's role within the Republican Party:
"They are corrupting influences on religion and politics, and those who practice them in the name of religion or in the name of the Republican Party or in the name of America shame our faith, our party and our country."
"John McCain has been working hard to get back in the good graces of the Right," said People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert. "By choosing Sarah Palin, he's given them exactly what they want — a book banning, anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-science extremist who's short on experience but long on ideology. Americans don't want a candidate who believes that victims of rape and incest should be denied a right to choose abortion. But the far right does. They said jump, and McCain just asked how high."
In return, the right-wing's response has been over the top:
James Dobson, Focus on the Family: "A lot of people were praying, and I believe Sarah Palin is God's answer."
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council: "Senator McCain made an outstanding pick."
Connie Mackey, FRCAction: "I am elated with Senator McCain's choice."
Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel: "Absolutely brilliant choice."
Richard Land: "Governor Palin will delight the Republican base."
Rick Scarborough, Vision
, "I'm elated. I think it's a superb choice." America
Ralph Reed: "They're beyond ecstatic. This is a home run."
Gary Bauer, American Values: "[A] grand slam home run."
Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: "She is the best possible choice."
Wendy Wright, Concerned Women for America: "Governor Palin will change the dynamics of the entire presidential race."
Janice Shaw Crouse, CWA's Beverly LaHaye Institute: "She is an outstanding woman who will be an excellent role model for the nation's young people."
David Barton, Wallbuilders: "The talk won't be about, 'look at Sarah Palin' as much as 'look at what McCain's choice of Palin says about McCain's core beliefs."
Jonathan Falwell: "John McCain made it very clear that his administration was going to be a pro-life administration, and he proved that's his belief and his passion today with the choice of Sarah Palin."
Jerry Falwell, Jr.: "I think it's a brilliant choice."
Charmaine Yoest, Americans United for Life: "And then when [Palin] was announced — it was like you couldn't breathe. [We] were grabbing each other and jumping up and down."
Gary Marx, Judicial Confirmation Network: "I can tell you that this pick tells millions in the base of the party that they can trust McCain. More specifically that they can trust him with Supreme Court picks and other key appointments."
David Keene, American Conservative Union: "The selection of Governor Palin is great news for conservatives, for the party and for the country. I predict any conservatives who have been lukewarm thus far in their support of the McCain candidacy will work their hearts out between now and November for the McCain-Palin ticket."
# # #
In response to a question today in Lima, OH, Senator John McCain turned the subject to the Supreme Court and bragged about his support of George W. Bush's nominees to the Supreme Court. In response, People For the American Way president Kathryn Kolbert said, "It's clear that John McCain is trying to polish his anti-choice credentials by highlighting his support for George W. Bush's judges."
This weekend, The New York Times reported that Senator McCain said flatly that he opposed allowing gay couples to adopt. "I think that we’ve proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no, I don’t believe in gay adoption."
During his speech today at the NAACP’s annual convention, John McCain reiterated his support of taxpayer funded vouchers to send children to religious and other private schools. People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert said, "John McCain is trying to score points with his right wing base, and he’s doing it at the expense of children. It’s bad enough that these voucher schemes are designed to undermine the separation of church and state."
Earlier today, Senator John McCain told voters assembled at a Wisconsin town hall meeting that he is a committed supporter of equal pay: "We have not done enough. And I’m committed to making sure that there’s equal pay for equal work. That there is equal opportunity in every aspect of our society. And that is my record and you can count on it."
Senator John McCain today called the Supreme Court decision protecting the right of habeas corpus for prisoners in Guantamo Bay “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”
People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert released the following statement:
Televangelist John Hagee and Senator John McCain mutually unendorsed each other last week as ongoing exposure of Hagee’s extremism became a burden to McCain’s campaign. But as Max Blumenthal points out, Sen. Joe Lieberman, one of McCain’s closest campaign advisors, is scheduled to be a keynote speaker at the July summit of Hagee’s Christians United for Israel. Lieberman has previously compared Hagee to Moses.
Following John McCain’s rejection of the endorsements he sought from pastors Rod Parsley and John Hagee, People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert said, “John McCain may think he solved a problem when he finally rejected the endorsements of John Hagee and Rod Parsley and their bizarre, hate-mongering, rhetoric. He’s got a bigger problem now.”
Sen. John McCain, at a town hall event held Wednesday in Michigan, singled out a girl wearing a t-shirt critical of him and challenged her to ask him a question. She asked about the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would have corrected the Supreme Court’s destructive ruling in >Ledbetter v. Goodyear: “I was wondering Senator McCain why you had the opportunity to vote to give equal rights to women equal pay [but] you didn't show up to vote and you said that if you did you wouldn't support it.”
Sen. John McCain’s speech about judges today stuck to the script written by right-wing ideologues and followed by President George W. Bush. People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert said, "Here’s what McCain was really telling the party base: If you liked George W. Bush’s nominees, you’re going to love the judges John McCain will put on the bench."