McCain Sucking Up to Jerry Falwell

If there was any doubt how badly John McCain wanted to be president, let it end now: McCain is going to be the graduation speaker at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.

U.S. Sen. John McCain – a likely 2008 presidential candidate who once labeled the Rev. Jerry Falwell an “agent of intolerance” – will be Liberty University’s graduation speaker on May 13.

“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.'” Falwell, LU’s chancellor, said McCain, an Arizona Republican, is among the presidential candidates he could support in 2008. “This is not an endorsement,” Falwell said.

Goodness, the only thing appealing about John McCain is his “maverick” image and willingness to risk offending people like Falwell. What, Bob Jones University wouldn’t invite him?

Lynchburg News & Advance reporter Ron Brown points out, “McCain’s visit to the LU campus is, at the very least, an attempt to make peace with conservative Christians prior to the presidential campaign.”

Courting the base is essential and Falwell is right to say that McCain has some fences to mend. But this move just makes him look desperate. Brown again:

While running against then- Gov. George W. Bush in the South Carolina and Virginia primaries in 2000, McCain denounced Falwell and Virginia Beach televangelist Pat Robertson in what was seen as a move to lure more moderate voters to his campaign. “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.

So, he’s going to the equivalent of Louis Farrakhan University to engraciate himself with the Republican Al Sharpton?

I believe our maverick has lost that lovin’ feeling.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    Desperate and stupid. This may work with the Republican base, but it’ll alienate both the moderate Repubs _and_ most every Dem.

    Someone should remind him of how low Bush’s approval ratings are these days… I don’t think trying to ape Bush’s strategy of ‘appeal to the base/screw the rest’ is a very smart idea.

  2. Maggie says:

    Something about McCain has always made the hair on the back of my neck stand up…..I just keep waiting for him to go postal.

  3. Please show anything Falwell has said or done that would put him anywhere near the level of bigotry Farrakhan displays. Your blind accusations against Falwell shows more bigotry on your part than Falwell has ever demonstrated.

  4. Phil Smith says:

    “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.'”

    Falwell re: 9-11.

    That’s all it takes, right there.

  5. James Joyner says:

    Danny: I’m quoting McCain’s words back to him. And, actually, Falwell has said some pretty vile things, including sponsoring a series of videos in the 1990s claiming Bill Clinton had had various political opponents in Arkansas murdered.

    He ain’t no ord’nary preacher.

  6. Phil, one of the reasons the Moslem terrorists gave for targeting America is that they are convinced we are exporting out immorality to the middle East, so what he said is actually true–ill timed–but it is valid.

    James, I heard the audio from those videos and found them very compelling. There were numerous, suspicious deaths that were conveniently in Bill Clinton’s favor. Take the only ATF agents to die at Waco. They were all from Little Rock, had all been former Clinton bodyguards, and I myself saw the video of them entering the building, followed by an agent who shot point blank at them. There’s a lot of dirt Clinton’s managed to keep covered.

  7. akdfjo says:

    I believe our maverick has lost that lovin� feeling.

    His whole “maverick” charade exploded a couple of weeks ago when he hired RNC hack Terry Nelson as an advisor.

    Nelson was named in the Tom Delay indictment as being the guy who laundered Delay funds through the RNC to Texas candidates in violation of state campaign financing laws.

    Say what you will about campaign financing, but it sure makes McCain look like a complete unprincipled jackass when he hires people after they have been named in an indictment for being an accessory to alleged violations of campaign financing laws.

    McCain is a complete opportunist scumbag.

  8. McGehee says:

    McCain is a complete opportunist scumbag.

    Which some of us knew back during the Keating Five scandal…

  9. Christopher says:

    Yes, but Chavez SHOULD BE assassinated. You gotta give him that one. Chavez could do major damage to South America in the coming years. He is baaaad news. Communism ruins people’s lives, causes misery, wastes billions and billions in money, and results in murders and despot dictatorships. Bad bad news.

  10. ICallMasICM says:

    Is engraciate like ingratiate? Or is it another language?

  11. Roger Ridenour says:

    Yep. Mccain has lost it. I actually considered supporting him in 2000 but couldn’t bring myself to do it in the end given his vote for the faux impeachment effort against Clinton. Just too sleazy selling out that way. But it did seem like one instance of sleaziness and not a pattern. The new Bush-lackey version of McCain scratched any possiblity of rethinking it. Interesting how Hillary has taken the same route. Once they become politicians first, any principles they claim later are meaningless. You can’t ever trust them again.

  12. Yes, but Chavez SHOULD BE assassinated. You gotta give him that one.

    Except that that was Pat Robertson that said that, not Jerry Fallwell.

  13. jacob says:

    Yes, but Chavez SHOULD BE assassinated. You gotta give him that one.

    Except that that was Pat Robertson that said that, not Jerry Fallwell.

    Birds of a feather, no? Two bigger ignoramouses would be hard to find. Put a rag aroun their heads and it would difficult to tell them apart from some of the less intelligent ayatollahs.

    Whoops spoke too soon, look what ol Chris has to say.

    Yes, but Chavez SHOULD BE assassinated. …. Chavez could do major damage to South America….He is baaaad news. Communism ruins people�s lives, causes misery, wastes billions and billions in money, and results in murders and despot dictatorships. Bad bad news.

    You’re speaking about an elected president and in his case he didn’t need the Supreme Court to decide. This communism is bad stuff is a great example of our propaganda machine at work. Hey let’s go save Viet Nam from those crazy commies and China too. And who can forget how we helped those poor people of Argentina when Allende was “going commie” that went well didn’t it?

    We sure know what’s best for others don’t we.

  14. Roger Ridenour says:

    Jacob is right. We also did a great job with the Shah Reza Pahlavi so Iran owes us as well. Not a very appreciative country, are they?