When asked at the Saddleback Church Forum which three "wise" people he'd consult with upon becoming president, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., listed among others civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., “who can teach us all a lot about the meanings of courage and commitment to causes greater than ourself."
McCain went so far as to tell Lewis's story in his newest book, "Why Courage Matters."
So I wonder if it will have any impact that Lewis writes a rather harsh appraisal of McCain-Palin rallies in Politico today.
"As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign. What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse."
Lewis even invokes segregationist former Gov. George Wallace, saying Wallace "never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama."
Lewis concludes: "As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy."
The general pushback from the McCain campaign is that there is nothing untoward going on at these rallies, that this is propaganda pushed forward by Democrats and their allies in the liberal media.