She was willing to go but the Democrats didn’t want to share a spotlight with her. So rather than let her attend and use her presence to drum up attention for the cause they’re ostensibly there to advance, the left muscled the organizers into canceling all politicians’ invites.
The Obama campaign in turn offered to send Congressman Robert Wexler of Florida to the event, but the appearance that the non-partisan group was aligning with the Republican ticket put the group and its president, Malcolm Hoenlein, under heavy pressure from Jewish Democrats, including members of the conference, members of Congress, and the liberal group J Street, not to give Palin a platform, sources said. Hoenlein told the McCain campaign that he would have to rescind Palin’s invitation or cancel the rally.
The organizers, I’m told, have formally disinvited all elected and political officials, but the move was about Palin.
Don’t blame Hoenlein. He can’t afford to alienate those groups and he absolutely shouldn’t cancel the rally in protest. Lay this at Obama’s feet. John Batchelor, who’s pals with Hoenlein, hints heavily in this post from this morning that Hillary was ready to go until The One leaned on her to skip it. Over to McCain for his reply:
“Throughout my political career, I have sought to rise above partisanship on critical national issues. Nowhere is this more true than on important matters of national security. Earlier this year, Senator Clinton, Senator Obama and I issued a joint statement on the genocide in Darfur and pledged to support efforts to bring it to an end. Earlier this month, Senator Obama and I put the campaign aside to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on our country and talk about the importance of national service.
“Next Monday, the day before Iranian President Ahmadinejad is to speak before the United Nations General Assembly, several organizations will sponsor an event to draw attention to the importance of halting Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Governor Palin and I share a strong belief that a nuclear armed Iran poses a grave threat to the security of Americans and to our allies. Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. The risk that Iran would provide terrorists with a nuclear weapon is too great for the world to ignore. Iranian President Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust occurred and called Israel a ‘stinking corpse.’ A nuclear-armed Iran would destabilize the entire region. Preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons should be a shared goal of every American, not another occasion for partisan posturing.
“Governor Palin was pleased to accept an invitation to address this rally and show her resolve on this grave national security issue, regrettably that invitation has since been withdrawn under pressure from Democratic partisans. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Republicans, Democrats and independents alike to oppose Ahmadinejad’s goal of a nuclear armed Iran. Senator Obama’s campaign had the opportunity to join us. Senator Obama chose politics rather than the national interest.“
Indeed, although given that the extent of his commitment to stopping Iran from getting the bomb remains an open question, that’s really not a rally he or his lackeys belong at. As for McCain and Palin, they should show up anyway. Don’t ask to address the crowd, as it’ll only put Hoenlein on the spot and distract from the mission of the event. Just swing by for a few minutes to show support for the cause. Let the public draw its own conclusions. Exit question: Does the name “Robert Wexler” ring a bell, incidentally? If you doubt whether Obama was flipping the bird to McCain by choosing him as a possible surrogate to attend the rally, refresh your memory.
Hillary Clinton, who cancelled her scheduled appearance at the event after learning of Palin’s plans to attend, had been confirmed months earlier. But Palin’s participation made the non-profit groups planning the event concerned they would lose their tax-exempt status, if only one party’s presidential or vice presidential candiate was invited to speak.
“The IRS is very clear, Hillary Clinton does not equal Sarah Palin,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “You have to have equal representation of candidates.”
How is it a violation of their tax-exempt status if they’ve invited Democrats to be there? I suspect you’ll find the list of speakers at Planned Parenthood events mighty thin on Republicans and their tax exemption’s not at risk, needless to say.