Although I agree with Cincinnati talk-show host Bill Cunningham on many issues, I have to side with Sen. John McCain in denouncing Cunningham for his behavior while appearing at a McCain rally on the candidate's behalf.
During his introductory remarks to the audience Cunningham repeatedly referred to Sen. Barack Obama as a "hack" and as Barrack Hussein Obama with the emphasis on Hussein, Obama's middle name -- a tactic used by critics who insist that Obama is really a Muslim.
McCain, who was not in the hall when Cunningham spoke, reacted angrily, telling reporters, "I take responsibility and I repudiate what he said. A person came out here before I arrived and made some disparaging remarks about Senators Obama and Clinton and I regret that. In my entire campaign I have treated Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton with respect. I will continue to do that throughout this campaign."
For his part, Cunningham acted like a spoiled child being punished by his parents, threatening to vote for ultra-liberal Hillary Clinton in response to McCain's scolding.
Cunningham seems to have forgotten that when you are speaking at a rally for a candidate, you're not there for yourself, but for the person you are representing.
Unfortunately, when my fellow conservatives forget what their function is under certain specific circumstance, such as doing a warm-up for a candidate, they get it into their heads that everything is always about them.
They forget that it isn't about them, it isn't about us radio hosts -- it's really about the person for whom we're emceeing an event, or introducing.
I go after liberals who start their spiel by using every imaginable obscene four-letter word when they are doing an event for a presidential candidate who just happens to be in the audience.
That's appalling conduct but it's equally appalling when conservatives think they have to prove their First Amendment rights by saying whatever they feel like saying, regardless of the fact that they may be hurting the very person they're supporting.
They don't have the right to say what they feel like saying when they are there in behalf of someone else who may well disagree with their remarks.
You have to understand your role as a warm-up speaker. You can't just take it upon yourself to saddle your candidate with your personal opinions. You can't decide, as Cunningham did, that you can help your man win this election by repeatedly reminding everybody what Obama's middle name is and doing it in a derogatory way. There are, after all, far more important issues at stake.