WHY ARE WE PRETENDING THAT THE McCAIN CAMPAIGN ISN'T BRINGING UP WRIGHT?
Wall Street Journal today:
Top McCain campaign officials are grappling with how far to go with negative attacks on Sen. Barack Obama in the final weeks of what is turning into a come-from-behind effort.
... Sen. McCain vetoed proposals to attack the Illinois senator for his 20 years as a member of the church led by Rev. [Jeremiah] Wright....
Sen. McCain has said Rev. Wright is off limits....
The hell it is. McCain and Palin are just using right-wing media figures -- McCain's new "base" -- to to bring up Wright for them.
William Kristol recounting his Palin interview in Monday's New York Times:
I pointed out that Obama surely had a closer connection to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright than to Ayers -- and so, I asked, if Ayers is a legitimate issue, what about Reverend Wright?
She didn’t hesitate: "To tell you the truth, Bill, I don't know why that association isn't discussed more, because those were appalling things that that pastor had said about our great country, and to have sat in the pews for 20 years and listened to that -- with, I don’t know, a sense of condoning it, I guess, because he didn't get up and leave -- to me, that does say something about character. But, you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up."
A strikingly similar exchange with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News yesterday:
VAN SUSTEREN: How about Reverend Wright and Father Pfleger?
PALIN: Well, I haven't brought that one up. I did respond to a question the other day. Someone asked me what they thought about...
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I'm bringing it up.
PALIN: You're bringing it up. Yes, you are. That's John McCain's call on that one, also, though, whether he wants to discuss that association and some of the things that reverend has said about our great country.
Laura Ingraham brought it up in a radio interview with Palin yesterday ("On Obama's association with Wright and Ayers, who Ingraham said, 'I believe they don't like this country. They don't like our traditions. They don't like our culture. They don't like capitalism'"). Sean Hannity brought it up in a Fox interview on Wednesday ("we know that he spent 20 years in the pews of Reverend Wright, who has said the most outrageous things, including G.D. America and 'America's chickens have come home to roost' after 9/11").
And, of course, as the Journal story linked above points out, a right-wing talk-show host brought it up to McCain:
At a rally in Waukesha, Wis., on Thursday, James T. Harris, a radio host in Milwaukee who is African American, took the microphone and professed his full support for Sen. McCain's candidacy. He urged him to talk more about the "shady characters" -- naming Rev. Wright specifically -- "surrounding" Sen. Obama.
"I am begging you, sir, I am begging you," he said, as the crowd went wild.
These media figures are McCain-Palin surrogates as surely as Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham are. They're saying things the McCain campaign has decided the candidates and official surrogates shouldn't say. Why pretend these media surrogates are bringing up Wright as journalists or voters?
...And no, I don't know why the McCain campaign has decided the candidates and official surrogates shouldn't mention Wright directly. I don't really think they're afraid of retaliation against McCain on Reverends Hagee and Parsley or against Palin for Reverends Muthee and Brickner (the preacher attacks on Palin and McCain never resonated the way the Wright attacks did). I think Team McCain is just saving up something for the last week of the campaign.