Thursday, November 29, 2007

McCain On Muslim Cabinet Members

Reacting to the mini-scandal Mitt Romney caused when he said he would not allow a qualified Muslim to serve in his cabinet, John McCain hit back:
"I’m proud of the Muslims who are currently serving in the United States armed forces," McCain said, "and my sense is that if they can serve in that manner, they can serve in any position of responsibility in America." McCain's comments were provided to us by his advisers.

McCain added: "I just think, appoint the most qualified individuals to positions of responsibility."

McCain's comments today built on his criticism of Romney yesterday: "I think his comment is indicative of how he might govern and I think it's absolutely wrong."

One interesting side note: Saying you won't appoint Muslims to your cabinet certainly isn't something that will hurt you in a GOP primary, so unsurprisingly, none of the other GOP candidates has had any criticism for Romney over this. Only McCain has been willing to go down this path.

Good for McCain (and by extension, shame on other GOP candidates for not taking the same position). Also, aside from it being the right answer substantively, good job framing it as well. This was rhetorically very strong, and unwavering.

McCain oscillates between the "good" McCain, who is not a moderate but is independent and somewhat sensible, and the "bad" McCain, who will sell out his deepest positions for another two points in the polls. I wouldn't support the good McCain; we differ on too many key issues. But I do have some respect for him. This is the good McCain -- a side that has been virtually absent this campaign and whose reputation has taken a drubbing over the past few months. It's hard to feel bad for meta-McCain -- he brought it all down on himself. But I do feel bad for good McCain.

Oh, and quickly on Romney's original comments. I'm inclined to be charitable and think that what he said was a gaffe (though this account by a top Nevada Republican makes me skeptical). I am not, however, inclined to believe that he didn't say it. That I firmly believe is just him lying, and it's truly unfortunate. Finally, major negative points to Captain Ed for totally skirting past the content of Romney's original answer to skewer the questioner.


Anonymous said...

Mitt Romney is being accused of Religious Bigotry?
He has been suggesting that everyone else is bigoted because we should not talk about Mormons, but here he expresses his views of Muslims in general.
Listen to this episode of the Hot Conflict Radio show discussing Mitt Romney on Islam.

PG said...

I really don't know what to do with the anti-Muslim attitudes during the 2008 campaign. I look at this:

Obama's advisers say they are not worried that the candidate will hurt his campaign by invoking his connections to the Islamic world. "He understands that there are scurrilous attack e-mails going on underground that distort his religious affiliation and worse, but his judgment is that he trusts the American people more than that," said David Axelrod, a top Obama strategist.

and think, "You poor dumb trusting idiot."

While candidates definitely can go wrong overestimating voters' racism (cf. George "macaca" Allen), it's kind of disturbing that the right wing hit machine has been sufficiently effective that a) being perceived as Muslim is a problem; and b) a greater percentage of people think Obama is a Muslim than know he is a Protestant.

David Schraub said...

Yeah, I had that same thought when one of Huckabee's advisers said he was depending on voters to "do the research." I can't think of a campaign strategy more likely to fail than that.