This race could have been a lot closer for McCain. However, the closer to Tuesday, the more negative his campaigning has become. The 'real' America, the 'elitists', the 'fake' Virginia, the 'liberal' media, and so many other catch phrases have turned away many moderate conservatives and independents.
McCain's biggest problem has been the selection of Palin as his running mate. He had a real chance to change the direction the Republican has been heading for many years. The Republican party has been ensnared by the Moral Majority and the evangelical movement.
This has always bothered me. I have always doubted the wisdom of entangling religion with politics. I've mentioned in several previous posts that the United States is not a Christian nation. I believe it to be a nation of Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, and many others. Little did I know that Obama said basically the same thing:
Read Obama's 2006 "Call to Renewal" address. While affirming his own Christianity as well as his belief in separation of church and state, he called on secularists to respect religion. He also said this: "In fact, because I do not believe that religious people have a monopoly on morality , I would rather have someone who is grounded in morality and ethics, and who is also secular, affirm their morality and ethics and values without pretending that they're some one they're not . . . Moreover, given the increasing diversity of America's population, the dangers of sectarianism. Have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers."
McCain used to have the same view point but the presidential race became more important to him somewhere along the road:
Years ago, on another planet it seems now, McCain called Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and other extreme right-wing pastors "agents of intolerance." That was during his failed 2000 presidential campaign. This time around, he embraced Falwell -- even after the late evangelist blamed 9/11, in part, on "the pagans and the abortionists, and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians."
Earlier this year, he sought and accepted endorsements from Rev. John Hagee, who has called the Catholic Church "The Great Whore", and from Pastor Rod Parsley, his "spiritual adviser," who calls Islam a "false religion" that should be "destroyed." After negative publicity about both endorsements, McCain finally rejected them.
The same Newsweek article asks this of Sarah Palin:
Why didn't she renounce David Brickner, Executive Director of Jews for Jesus, when he spoke earlier this year at Palin's Wasilla Bible Church and described terrorist attacks on Israelis as God's "judgment of unbelief" of Jews who haven't embraced Christianity.
Before Palin was selected to be Vice-President, Adam Brickley started a web-site called Palin for VP. He is described thusly:
Brickley’s family, once evangelical Christians, now practice what he calls “Messianic Judaism.” They believe that Jesus is the Messiah, but they also observe the Jewish holidays and attend synagogue; as Brickley puts it, “Jesus was Jewish, so to be like Him you need to be Jewish, too.” Brickley said that “the hand of God” played a role in choosing Palin: “The longer I worked on it the less I felt I was driving it. Something else was at work.”
Brickley is an authentic heartland voice, but he is also the product of an effort by wealthy conservative organizations in Washington to train activists. He has attended several workshops sponsored by the Leadership Institute, a group based in the Washington area and founded in 1979 by the Christian conservative activist Morton Blackwell. “I’m building a movement,” Blackwell told me. Brickley also participated in a leadership summit held by Young America’s Foundation (motto: “The Conservative Movement Starts Here”) and was an intern at the Heritage Foundation. He currently lives in a dormitory, on Capitol Hill, run by the Heritage Foundation, and is an intern with townhall.com, a top conservative Web site.
There are others who have doubts about McCain's choice of Palin:
The selection of Palin thrilled the Republican base, and the pundits who met with her in Juneau have remained unflagging in their support. But a surprising number of conservative thinkers have declared her unfit for the Vice-Presidency. Peggy Noonan, the Wall Street Journal columnist, recently wrote, “The Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics. It’s no good, not for conservatism and not for the country. And yes, it is a mark against John McCain.” David Brooks, the Times columnist, has called Palin “a fatal cancer to the Republican Party.” Christopher Buckley, the son of National Review’s late founder, defected to the Obama camp two weeks ago, in part because of his dismay over Palin. Matthew Dowd, the former Bush campaign strategist turned critic of the President, said recently that McCain “knows in his gut” that Palin isn’t qualified for the job, “and when this race is over, that is something he will have to live with. . . . He put the country at risk.”(Read the rest of New Yorker article)