Justin touched on this story. Let me expound…

“I did not know about these remarks, but I take responsibility for them. I repudiate them. My entire campaign I have treated Senator Obama and Senator Clinton with respect. I will continue to do that throughout this campaign.”

That was John McCain yesterday, apologizing for remarks made by talk show host Bill Cunningham at a McCain rally. Cunningham repeatedly referred to Barack Obama as Barack Hussein Obama and called the Illinois senator a Chicago-style hack.

McCain added that he did not think it was appropriate to use Senator Obama’s middle name in such situations.

He may not make sweeping speeches about unity or dazzle us with his promises to change the attitudes of Washington, but McCain is a man who has walked the bipartisan walk for many years. No, he hasn’t always been 100% civil but he fundamentally understands what it really takes and what it really means to respect your opponents and work with them rather than against them.

McCain didn’t have to speak out so harshly against his own supporter. He wasn’t even at the event and could have disavowed all knowledge and taken no responsibility. But he didn’t. And I think the shows, yet again, Obama isn’t the only candidate in this race who represents change.

  • terence

    Alan – He’s McBush – he is everything that’s wrong with the system. How could you say he represents change unless you are talking about his consistent flip flops on many of the things he has said. I appreciate people liking John McCain but he represents only more of the same. He is intellectually dishonest on so many levels and stands for “supporting the prevailing political wind” please. McCain has had a free ride for so many years………

  • baltogeek

    Alan, I asked a similar question of Justin in his post so I’ll pose the same question to you.

    Do you feel that McCain will actually be able to persue a anti-racist agenda in the GOP and not pay dearly for it.

    Cunningham was cheered by the crowd at that stop. That says alot.

    The difference between the McCain and the GOP and what Obama is doing is that the Democrats from the bottom up are engaged in the “movement” he is building.

    The GOP base as far as I can tell doesn’t feel that racism or xenophobia in the party is a real problem.

    Do you really feel McCain can change the GOP when the GOP itself doesn’t seem ready or willing to change?

  • terrence, we’ll have to agree to disagree on all of that — not only are our opinions not even in the same ballpark, they are in different cities. I find him a man of principle and very different from Bush.

    baltogeek, you are right that the Republican party has some unsavory types lurking in its ranks but I think it’s a pretty large overstatement to say the GOP base is defacto racist because some people who vote Republican are racist. So, yeah, I think McCain can persue an anti-racist agenda without significantly hurting his chances.

  • Nelson

    “The GOP base as far as I can tell doesn’t feel that racism or xenophobia in the party is a real problem.”

    It depends how you define GOP base. If you define the base as “conservative” talk radio hosts and bloggers, then yes, you’re correct. But if the base consists of (more or less) normal people like me who are registered voting Republicans who dislike both large government and nativism then you’re wrong. One of the primary reasons I voted for McCain was he’s not a “hater.” I’m never really sure how many think the way I do because the nativist pundits are loud and drown out the other voices… but according to the actual votes, I must not be alone.

    “Do you really feel McCain can change the GOP when the GOP itself doesn’t seem ready or willing to change?”

    For me the real question is “Will the nativists change the GOP into a party I can no longer support?” I hope not. I will vote against the nativists at every opportunity. But if they win, we all lose.

  • ExiledIndependent

    This is strange to me. Why are we worrying about a candidate’s middle name? I didn’t see/hear the original Cunningham comment, but if he’s saying “Barack Hussein Obama” (left out the Junior, I imagine) that’s just as viable as “Hillary Rodham Clinton” or “John Sidney McCain III.” The subsequent McCain apology seemed very strange and out of place; before I got context, I thought that Cunningham had used some kind of racial slur against BHO. He just said his middle name out loud? Sheesh….

  • gljunket

    Seems to me the “GOP” has already changed dramatically, for the better. If the so-called “base” that has controlled the Party for the recent disastrous years were still in control, Huckebee would be in McCains’ position, and they would hand the White House to the Dems. At least the resurgence of some “centrists” have wrrested enough control to nominate a long shot to avoid that. Let’s hope McCain doesn’t pander to the “base” enough (by naming one as his Running Mate) to lose the Centrist support that gives him a chance in the Election.

  • However different McCain may be on a personal level from Bush I am only aware of one Bush Administration policy that would change with a President McCain and that is a more eco-friendly approach to the environment. I believe that he might also get rid of the Bush limitations on funding stem cell research but given his pandering to the Religious Right over the last year I wouldn’t swear to it.

  • Bob

    Jim, I disagree but it doesn’t really matter since you won’t believe it.

    I will say that you could say the same about the difference between Clinton and Obama administration. There aren’t any policy differences so how could they be different? Except just about every Obama backer says there is (and I do agree with them).

  • Bob,

    McCain would have much better policies on the environment. He would also lift the limitations on stem cell research that Bush put in place. I think of both of those as a good thing. McCain is very different on a personality level than Bush. But he is the one who has made clear his position on Iraq. He is the one who has been cozying up to the Religious Right since his campaign began. He is the one who stated that he would try to appoint the same kinds of judges that Bush appointed. So where else other than the policies I noted would McCain be different?