Likely GOP presidential nominee John McCain may have alienated part of his party’s conservative base while trying to curry favor with another part of the right wing.
McCain sought – and got – the endorsement of influential Texas televangelist John Hagee, raising the hackles of right-wing Catholic League President Bill Donohue.
Hagee, the leader of San Antonio megachurch with tens of thousands of members, has referred to the Roman Catholic Church as “the great whore” and a “false cult system.”
His books promote an apocalyptic philosophy that endorses war in the Mideast as a precursor to (a welcomed) Armageddon.
Catholic groups, including the Catholic League, want McCain to reject the endorsement.
With one fringe pitted against the other, will McCain’s fading image as a centrist maverick go up in smoke?
ON THE BORDER
Another issue that creates friction between McCain and the conservative base is immigration. He favors immigration reform. They favor Stephen Colbert’s flaming moat filled with fire-proof crocodiles.
The Comedy Central talk show anchor’s idea just might be more practical than the highly touted virtual fence, which Homeland Security honcho Michael Chertoff recently praised, saying he’d “personally witnessed the value of the system.”
Days later, after the feds had written a final check for the $20 million Project 28, Homeland Security announced that the project was flawed and would be delayed three years.
Here’s the rub: It turns out that Boeing Corp. didn’t bother to consult with border agents on the ground before designing the system.
They’d have recommended asbestos alligators.
QUICK ON THE DRAW
In another instance of ignoring those who just might know best, Arizona is among the 13 states considering legalizing guns on college campuses.
Mesa’s Sen. Karen Johnson has drawn up legislation that would allow students with concealed weapons permits to carry those weapons on campus. The Arizona Board of Regents reacted swiftfy by adopting a resolution making the university campuses gun-free.
Other bills winding their way through the state house include legalizing “defensive” displays of firearms, carrying firearms in restaurants that serve alcohol and keeping a loaded weapon anywhere in a vehicle.
Law enforcement professionals, including Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and many police organizations, oppose making it easier to carry firearms.
Triggered by the recent tragedies at Northern Illinois University and Virginia Tech, those who would loosen restrictions on guns say an armed society is a safe one.
Isolated examples, such as the Tucson homeowner who killed a home invader last week, are used to justify making it easier to pack a gun anywhere.
Those who fill those big shoes, walking the beats, see it otherwise. And in the past few days, they’ve seen too much.
Seven homicides and two additional shootings by police have claimed the lives of Tucsonans recently.
There seem to be enough bullets flying already. Will more guns on the street help or hurt? Some things are better left to the professionals. Taking advice from legislators on matters of life and death may not lead to the best policy.
QUICKER ON THE DRAW
Other (hopefully) isolated examples point to the tragedy, and idiocy, of some who find themselves in possession of firearms.
Mesa teen Hughstan Schlicker is accused of killing his father with a shot to the back of the head because he wasn’t allowed to use the Internet.
“Dad came home, I shot him in the head, what investigation?” Schlicker said when questioned by police.
Perhaps even more blithe was Daniel Kuch of Washington, who told police he had a friend shoot him in the shoulder to get some time off work and avoid a drug test.
In this case, the second reason would seem to have been primary.
PITCHERS AND CATCHERS RETORT
The real reason behind Lute Olson’s continuing leave of absence continues to be unreported.
While rumors fly on Internet bulletin boards, both Olson and the UA remain mum.
The team has had its share of ups and downs this year, with injuries and painful near-wins taking their toll.
Accustomed to rooting for a highly ranked team, the fair-weather fan might consider enjoying sunshine and cheering on the No. 1 UA baseball team.
The team has been diamond-sharp under coach Andy Lopez, taking seven out of its first eight games. With Tucson’s spring training future in doubt, there might be hope yet for the local baseball fan.
Contact Dylan Smith at (520) 806-7735 or firstname.lastname@example.org.