I recently reported on an incident at a McCain campaign rally in Maryland at which a number of McCain supporters, including some who identified themselves as Muslims and some who identified themselves as Christians, came together to do the right thing and shoo away a few individuals who attempted to smear Barack Obama by insinuating that Obama, by being a Muslim, is inherently unfit to be President. (Never mind that Obama is not a Muslim, he's a Christian.) These good Republicans (sic) repudiated the Obama smear merchants' intolerance of Islam and called for a respectful discussion of Obama's past.
One of the men who stood up to the smear merchants was Daniel Zubairi, a McCain delegate and a Muslim. This incident, conveniently preserved on video, provided a perfect opportunity for the McCain campaign to publicly declare its opposition to religious intolerance and promote the concept of the Republican Party as having a big tent under which Americans of all stripes might find a place.
CNN's Rich Sanchez reported on the incident recently and invited Zubairi to appear on CNN to provide his insights on the incident. However, shortly before Zubairi was to go on the air, the McCain campaign told Zubairi not to discuss the incident on televison.
Sanchez told the Huffinton Post's Sam Stein, "What the guy did was courageous. I called him heroic. I'm mystified why they wouldn't embrace him for his actions. Maybe they didn't like the story, but I'll tell you. I thought it was presented it in a very transparent way, if anything I kind of gushed philosophically about how impressive and real his reaction was to the protester's hateful message. It seemed to show some of the best of McCain supporters..."
One can only guess what the McCain campaign was thinking. Perhaps the campaign didn't want to be associated with the Obama smear merchant. Somehow, I doubt that, though. Maybe the McCain campaign's dicision to pull Zubairi off the air has more to do with the same sort of thinking that influenced McCain to chose Caribou Barbie for a running-mate. Perhap it is because the Republican Party is now little more than a party of ultra Right-wing Christian fundamentalists who would identify more with the anti-Obama/anti-Muslim smear merchant than with the stand-up McCain supporters who actually put a freedom-of-religion America first.