Today I saw a clip on TV of John McCain clarifying an issue that seems to be taking hold during this year's campaign for both parties: religion. Well, not religion as a whole, but more specifically the religious ties of the candidates. This really came into the limelight with the scandal involving Barack Obama's former pastor Jeremiah Wright. This time, it was McCain's turn after comments by a man named Rod Parsley, who has apparently made some serious anti-Semitic remarks.
I couldn't care less, and I actually think McCain's comments were right on the money. Just because somebody endorses your campaign does not mean that you endorse their ideas. There is, however, a bit of political manipulation involved, since McCain did seek out the guy's endorsement back in February. Still, to make the connection that McCain agrees with the pastor's views is a stretch.
This all ties in to another issue: why does this matter? I'm not saying it doesn't. I'm just asking why whatever somebody's former pastor says should hold any ground in a political campaign. I think it's simple: the candidates are so similar that any difference or hiccup is magnified. Let's face it: Obama's and Clinton's policies, as a whole, are not that different. Obama may be a bit more extreme, but his lack of experience will offset any real changes he has planned. So, morality comes into focus. And… what's the easiest way to gauge a candidates moral standing? Religion.
As to why John McCain's moral standing is coming into question, as his patriotism is obviously a non-issue with his military and political record, is most likely due to the mainstream news' "flavor of the week" syndrome. Some nut who endorses McCain says something crazy and all of a sudden it becomes part of McCain's platform. It really makes no sense, and the news is not helping this at all. Unless it is something McCain or a representative of his campaign says, I don't see why it should be attached to his campaign. The same goes for Obama and Clinton. All three have had this, or something similar, happen to them this campaign season (Clinton had a small scandal with a campaign contributor a little while ago), and it all it has become is filler.
How about this: instead of bringing along a whole bunch of irrelevant stories, we focus more on the issues. Yes, this is said all of the time, but it still makes sense. Americans in general have short attention spans, and will shift their focus to something else, no matter how important an issue may be, if they are subjected to a constant barrage of meaningless bullshit. It's human nature. So why not do some real journalism and look into the issues and present more facts so that people actually know what each candidate believes? Take the people who find the goofy stories, teach them how to be real journalists by showing them All the President's Men about four or five times, and then send them off to save the world. There are policy differences between Clinton and Obama that people can find out. It's high time everyone learned them.