Scrutiny of McCain 'Just the Kind He Has Advocated'
J. Peter Freire, managing editor at the conservative American Spectator, has an intriguing take on the fallout from The New York Times article about Sen. John McCain's involvement with lobbyist Vicki Iseman. Freire argues that McCain's own efforts at "the pseudo-muckraking philosophy underlying McCain-Feingold, 'ethics reform,' and other 'do-gooder' bills ... has come back to bite him in a Times article that highlights moments in his career where he could have been seen as doing something unseemly."
Freire is dismissive of the Times story, calling it "simply a catalogue of potential sins that are never realized, offered by sources that are never named." But Freire argues that the Times story about how his staffers worried about the appearance of his relationship with Iseman "is precisely the sort of scrutiny of moral conscience that McCain has supported."
This is not a story about what happened. It's a story about what could have happened. What was feared to have happened. What, it must be assumed in good faith, did not happen. Campaign advisers were afraid that "the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity."
While it's clear that supporters and passers-by will dismiss the Times report as overblown in its importance (and, of course, heap onto the Times for being incautious about its use of sources), the dredging up of a real ethics flap will not help a man who has made ethics a cornerstone of his campaign.
Update: The Washington Post has an article today on how the "anti-loobyist McCain" is advised by more than a few lobbyists.
" ... when McCain huddled with his closest advisers at his rustic Arizona cabin last weekend to map out his presidential campaign, virtually every one was part of the Washington lobbying culture he has long decried. His campaign manager, Rick Davis, co-founded a lobbying firm whose clients have included Verizon and SBC Telecommunications. His chief political adviser, Charles R. Black Jr., is chairman of one of Washington's lobbying powerhouses, BKSH and Associates, which has represented AT&T, Alcoa, JPMorgan and U.S. Airways. Senior advisers Steve Schmidt and Mark McKinnon work for firms that have lobbied for Land O' Lakes, UST Public Affairs, Dell and Fannie Mae. "
10:45 AM ET | 02-22-2008 | permalink