Sunday, May 14, 2006

McCain Speech: Opinion Roundup

McCain Speech Opinion Roundup

I took the liberty of removing all of the speech quotes from the articles as it would make for a very repetetive and needlessly long post. A link to the full transcript of the speech will be provided at the end of the page.

Senator May Have an Eye Toward 2008 as He Reaches Out to Religious Conservatives

Washington Post
By Dan BalzSunday, May 14, 2006; Page A04

LYNCHBURG, Va., May 13 -- Six years after labeling the Rev. Jerry Falwell one of the political "agents of intolerance," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) delivered the commencement address Saturday at Falwell's Liberty University, and vigorously defended his support for the war in Iraq while saying that opponents have a moral duty to challenge the wisdom of a conflict that has exacted a huge toll on the nation.

McCain's presence on the campus here was as remarkable as what he had to tell the graduating class of 2006, given his clashes with religious conservatives during his 2000 campaign for president. His appearance continued a rapprochement that has been underway for months with a critical constituency in the Republican Party as McCain prepares for another possible campaign in 2008.

Falwell's visit last September began a process of reconciliation between the two men. "The senator did what I do quite often: spoke out of his emotions and later felt bad about it," Falwell said of that 2000 incident. But in their meeting, he said, "no apologies were asked for or given."


by John Meacham
Newsweek Columnist

May 13, 2006 | McCain’s 'Argument Among Friends'
At Liberty University, the presidential candidate takes on Jerry Falwell with subtlety and grace. It is commencement season, and one of the things that is beginning is the 2008 presidential race, which is among the reasons John McCain’s schedule of addresses is eclectic: the New School and Columbia in New York, Ohio State, and, most notably, today’s speech at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

Observers hoping for McCain to denounce or chastise Falwell under his own roof, so to speak, will be disappointed, but McCain’s remarks repay careful attention, for in fact he did take Falwell on-subtly, and, I think, ably, for subtlety is important in matters of faith and politics. The subject is so charged, so emotional, and so visceral, that minds are often not changed by direct attack but by engaging people with whom one disagrees in language and with imagery they find comfortable and familiar. At Liberty, McCain spoke of war, but the habit of heart he was urging upon his audience and upon the country is a habit that one could bring to any issue of consequence.

We will hear much more from John McCain and his rivals about God and politics and the world as the months go by. The Liberty speech has set a good and generous tone. Let us hope that sense and spirit survives the storm and strife ahead.


Published: May 14, 2006

LYNCHBURG, Va., May 13 — With the Rev. Jerry Falwell at his side, Senator John McCain offered a spirited defense of the Iraq war on Saturday, telling graduating students at Liberty University that victory there was crucial to world security. But Mr. McCain urged opponents of the war to vigorously "state their opposition" in the interest of critical debate on this increasingly unpopular conflict.

Mr. McCain is also the scheduled speaker at the graduation on Friday at the New School in New York. He intends to deliver the same remarks, his aides said, with the expectation that they may draw a less-than-enthusiastic reaction there, given that school's liberal nature. His planned appearance has caused an uproar among students and faculty because of his conservative positions on issues like Iraq.

Notably, Mr. McCain made no mention of his conservative positions on social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.

Mr. McCain's speech offered pleas for civility to an increasingly divided nation.

Referring to his own brash political ways as a younger man, he said: "It's a pity there wasn't a blogosphere then. I would have felt much at home in the medium."

It says something about McCain that he will be delivering the same message of respect and the importance of civil discourse to two universities that exist at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Its also interesting that he never apologized to Falwell. And while many have accused McCain of pandering to the religious right it may be that Falwell is trying to ingratiate himself with McCain.

You can read my take on Senator McCain's speech here

And a full transcript of the speech can be found on Senator McCain's website.

Other Opinions

Progressive Gold
John McCain, The Great White Hope

Senator John McCain really does think he can be President. The US media and some ' liberals ' (Joe cough, Lieberman) think so too, and are pushing John MCain as Bush's successor, now they've finally woken up to the fact that Bush is batshit crazy. The Uk media too, largely as a result of the reports of BBC koolaid-sipper Justin Webb....

The Politically Incorrect Report
John McCain Receives Protests Over Nothing

Over the weekend John McCain spoke at Jerry Falwell's liberty University where he was greeted with protests of the war and gay rights. Now i will say i was disappointed that John McCain spoke at Liberty University, my discuss for Jerry Falwell is well known, however it's also a good thing that a guy like John McCain who has very different views on Gay Marriage is allowed to speak at Liberty University....

Shades of Evergreen
Hell is Frozen Over

John McCain holding hands and speaking at the school of Reverend Jerry Falwell, who is, as the Senator once rightly stated, an agent of intolerance.

Look, McCain is running for President. I don't think pandering is defined by having a conversation with people you disagree with....

The Daily Dish
McCain the Healer

The speech is, to give my first impression, a truly inspired piece of work. It's funny at times, sharp, moving, sincere, self-deprecating. What it manages to do is something that, sadly, Bush has been unable to do. It manages to argue forcefully for the moral cause of the war against Islamist terrorism and yet to defend the dignity and value of our strong and impassioned debates about it. It's about reconciliation....