Ramesh, I’m sure that you know McCain used the term “agents of intolerance” to describe Jerry Falwell and other religious conservatives back in 2000. This was one of several instances during the campaign in which McCain demonstrated his disdain, I think in part to play to the newsies he was chatting up in the Straight Talk Express. They dig that sort of thing.
More recently, social-conservative leaders have certainly expressed their continuing concerns about McCain. For example :
“Everybody understands, he hates the Christian right. That’s a real problem,” says Paul Weyrich, head of the Free Congress Foundation. Mr. Weyrich dismisses the Falwell speech invitation as just a “personal patchup.”
“He wants to remake the Republican Party into pre-Reagan times,” Weyrich continues. “Republicans traditionally stood for limited government, free enterprise, and a strong national defense. We added a fourth leg to that stool, which was traditional American values. And he wants to get rid of that.”
Lou Sheldon, founder of the Traditional Values Coalition, also sees trouble in a McCain candidacy. When asked about McCain’s effort to build bridges to social conservatives, Mr. Sheldon replied: “I don’t see bridges, I see road blocks.”
And back in February, James Dobson said , “I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances. I pray that we won’t get stuck with him.” Perhaps he’s changed his tune since then.