Presidential Campaign Religious Smear

Presidential Campaign Religious Smear

NotionsCapital hesitates to dignify this trend through repetition, but it is too loony to go unreported. An alleged “Christian” political blog insists on describing Cindy Lou Hensley McCain as Senator John McCain’s “Jew Trophy Wife.”

Jewish readers should understand that, given the context of the remark, this is not meant as a compliment.

The Christian Party blog (it may be a party of one) insists on labelling Mrs. McCain ” Jew Trophy Wife” and “Jewish Trophy Wife.” Plain old anti-Semites are glad to join in the fun. The Ron Paul Web apparatus really likes this Cindy McCain-Zionist-conspiracy stuff, presumably because Senator McCain dared oppose their say-so Libertarian Savior; only a conspiracy could account for McCain’s success.

This rumor has been spread around the Blogosphere so efficiently that even American Jews have heard it. There is a recent inquiry “Is Cindy McCain Jewish?” on website and entries on other Jewish blogs.

The Hensley and McCain families belong to North Phoenix Baptist Church, affiliated with the Southern Baptist convention, not any branch of Judaism (though Senator McCain still considers himself Episcopalian, the faith of his fathers, as it were). Funeral services for Mrs. McCain’s parents were held at North Phoenix Baptist Church.

So where do these “Jewess Cindy” rumors come from? Two main threads emerge.

The first: the proven Gangland associations of Cindy Lou McCain’s father.  A number of Western mobsters had Jewish origins, though some were Italian-American and many were local Good ol’ Boys. 

When decorated WWII aviator James Willis Hensley brought bride Marguerite ” Smitty” Johnson Hensley back to Arizona, he and his brother Eugene worked for wealthy rancher, developer and liquor distributor Kemper Marley, who is said to have had ties to Sam Bronfman, Canadian Jewish bootlegger, founder of Seagrams, and pal of Al Capone. Marley is also said to have direct or indirect ties to: Arizonan gangster Peter Licavoli (business partner of Barry Goldwater’s brother Robert), Las Vegas mob boss Moe Dalitz, and Arizona mob boss Gus Greenbaum ( a Barry Goldwater pal).

The Hensleys took Federal felony falls for Marley, and Marley did business with gangsters with Jewish origins; this is enough for one website to claim that “The Hensleys were probably Jewish.” The Hensleys and Kemper Marley may have done business with American Jewish mobsters, but it is extremely doubtful this would have required religious conversion, a rather messy and painful business for adult men.

This Jewish-by-remote-association-with-Jewish-mob-figures theory of Hensley genealogy has been combined with hysterical World Zionist Conspiracy theories of professional anti-Semite “journalist” and radio ranter Michael Collins Piper (aka Mike Piper) which often explain Senator McCain’s pro-Israel votes or statements as responses to family or “Jewish Mafia” pressure rather than Republican party policy or the desire for American Jewish political support.

The Blogosphere is rife with rumors about the faith of the Democratic Presidential contender, some of them spread by and through the U.S. Jewish community. It comes as a surprise to members of the latter that their own faith is used as a smear against the Republican candidate’s family. American Jews, puzzled this should be seen as a smear, have responded “So what if she was Jewish?”  Too bad rumors about the Democrat have not prompted a similar response. 

Image — OMG! — by Mike Licht. Download a copy here.Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

8 Responses to “Presidential Campaign Religious Smear”

  1. Lawrence E. Rafferty Says:

    Who would benefit from McCain’s wife being called a Jew? No one else other than McCain himself. It would not surprise me if the that slimy Senator is planting these internet rumors himself. He is running behind Obama in Jewish vote according to the polls, so maybe even bad and untrue publicity is better than no publicity.

  2. Mike Licht Says:

    Lawrence E. Rafferty Says: It would not surprise me if . . . [Senator McCain] is planting these internet rumors himself. He is running behind Obama in Jewish vote . . . .

    With all respect, I do not feel that rumors spread this way are an efficient technique to influence American Jewish opinion.

    The rumors are on blogs directed to those who wish the United States to officially adopt their brand of Christianity (Constitution be damned) and want to use our nation’s resources to repress the millions of Americans who do not conform to this set of beliefs and combat other nations where other religious traditions predominate.

  3. Lawrence E. Rafferty Says:

    I didn’t say that the rumors were efficient. I just said that McCain was the one who needed help with the Jewish voters. And the wacky religious far right has been courted by McCain for months. Many on the religious right are supporters of Israel, because they need Israel to fit into their bizarre End Of Time scenario. You are right on the money that they also want the US to be a “Christian” nation much like the Taliban wanted Afghanistan to be a pure Muslim nation.

  4. qwerty Says:

    Does this mean Ted Kennedy is a Jew too?

  5. Mike Licht Says:

    qwuerty: I doubt the Christian Party is fond of Roman Catholics, either.

  6. Hugh G Rection Says:

    I invite a Christian Theocracy with open arms. Despite the anti-Constitutionality and the displeasure it encompasses, it would finally end religious lunacy in this country. The best way to kill a religion is to make it part of the government. See Spain for the clearest example. It is still beyond my comprehension why the wing nuts think government is incompetent in all aspects but religion. Nuckin’ futs, I tell ya!

  7. SusieQ Says:

    …”When decorated WWII aviator James Willis Hensley brought bride Marguerite ” Smitty” Johnson Hensley back to Arizona”
    what you neglect to mention in this report is that Cindy’s father met her mother. Marguerite, when he was still married to his first wife, whom he then left for Marguerite. Cindy McCain may not be Jewish (who cares) but strangely enough followed in her mother’s footsteps in having an affair with a married man whom she later married. AND she is not the only child of Mr Hensley, although she and the press often say so, BUT she is the only child of his that inherited his fortune.

  8. Mike Licht Says:


    Mrs. McCain will be releasing her memoirs in September, terrible timing on her part. Maybe we can get John Edwards to review it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: