Back in April, John McCain and his allies taunted Barack Obama as the choice of Hamas in the wake of remarks by a spokesman for that organization. Now with the news that Al Qaeda web sites are seemingly backing McCain for President, the Republican might want to reconsider that line of attack. And to be sure, John McCain should steer clear of touting "Osama the Terrorist" at his rallies.
As the Washington Post detailed Wednesday, Al Qaeda cadres see a McCain as the best bet to perpetuate the policies of President Bush they see bankrupting the United States and the West:
"Al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election," said a commentary posted Monday on the extremist Web site al-Hesbah, which is closely linked to the terrorist group. It said the Arizona Republican would continue the "failing march of his predecessor," President Bush...
...It further suggested that a terrorist strike might swing the election to McCain and guarantee an expansion of U.S. military commitments in the Islamic world.
"It will push the Americans deliberately to vote for McCain so that he takes revenge for them against al-Qaeda," said the posting, attributed to Muhammad Haafid, a longtime contributor to the password-protected site. "Al-Qaeda then will succeed in exhausting America."
Of course, the claim that John McCain is supported by Al Qaeda is hyperbole that normally would deserve no place in American politics. (That said, the ironies abound for the man who said "I know how" to get Osama Bin Laden and would follow him to "the gates of hell.") But as recent history shows, slanders have become the centerpiece of the McCain campaign.
In April, as you might recall, John McCain showed no compunction in claiming Barack Obama was supported by Hamas.
In an interview with ABC radio, Hamas political adviser Ahmed Yousef said:
"Actually, we like Mr. Obama. We hope he will [win] the election and I do believe he is like John Kennedy, great man with great principle.
We like Mr. Obama and we hope he will win the election. He has a vision to change America."
Almost instantaneously, the McCain campaign sent a fundraising email titled "Hamas Weighs In On U.S. Presidential Election." Joe Lieberman, too, took up the charge. And on April 25, McCain himself blasted Obama:
"I think it is very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States...I think that the people should understand that I will be Hamas' worst nightmare.
"I never expect for the leader of Hamas...to say that he wants me as president of the United States. I think it is very clear...why they would not want me to be president of the United States, so if Senator Obama is favored by Hamas, I think people can make judgments accordingly."
Which is exactly what now has the McCain campaign so frantic. Desperate to downplay the seeming Al Qaeda endorsement, Team McCain quickly convened a conference call to insist that Al Qaeda's statements of support for McCain constitute reverse psychology intended to damage his prospects. McCain ally and former CIA Director Jim Woolsey claimed Al Qaeda's man was "not speaking from his heart."
Of course, when the topic was Hamas and Barack Obama, not so much.