February 21, 2008

McCain's bad week

I really am probably like a lot of people in not knowing what to think about the NYT's story on McCain's relationship with a lobbyist in 2000. Josh Marshall suggests that there must be more to the story than is revealed in the NYT. I don't know. I read the Times piece and it is very speculative. As many have noted, the real issue is not the supposed sexual relationship, but the lobbyist angle. I think we will learn more in the next few days.

If you are interested in it, this New Republic article is a really interesting story about the story.


steves said...

What is the lobbyist angle? I have several friends that are lobbyists, so I have a good idea what some of them do.

Streak said...

The question of whether Mr. Reformer was actually acting on behalf of this lobbyist's concerns in a possibly inappropriate way.

steves said...

Lobbyists are paid to try and influence politicians. The politicians don't have to listen to them. I guess I don't see why this is a big deal.

Streak said...

It isn't that simple. Did he do it for campaign contributions? Did he give her clients extra consideration.

Of course politicians don't have to listen to them, but let's not act as if the lobbying game is always pure. Tom Delay helped make the K-Street project a huge money maker for the GOP.

And the other point is that McCain has been a critic of such access. If he is doing this for her, it suggests that he is not the reformer or straight shooter he wants everyone to think he is.

ubub said...

Some of my best friends are lobbyists. Well, strictly speaking, that's not true, but I do know, and have worked with, several on various things over the years.

The troubling issue with lobbyists is their role in what often becomes pay to play politics wherein the clients of the lobbyist essentially buy access (at least) to elected officials through campaign contributions, junkets, and swag. Here in the other mitten, we convicted our top legislative leaders, from both parties and both houses, for exactly this.

On the McCain story specifically, it is interesting that the first response was to deny a romantic relationship then issue a non-denial denial. The issue is not that he would cheat on his wife, because, frankly, we already know that he would because he cheated on his first wife with the woman who's his current wife. He's not running for saint, nor does he claim to be one, so that's not the issue it might be for other candidates.

The bigger issue is whether this should be a concern, given his past involvement as a member of the Keating Five. The memos indicate his staff's concern, but were they concerned about the appearance of impropriety or actual corruption?

I am not going to begrudge a man his friendships. It is, however, a public question whether his relationships with this lobbyist led to official action where no action or different action might otherwise have been warranted.

My two cents, in the hopes that I can buy access to your consideration.

steves said...

"My two cents, in the hopes that I can buy access to your consideration."

You got it. What do you want?

All the candidates have connections to lobbyists, but if McCain is going to try and sound like some anti-lobby reformer, then this does look bad. As long as it is out in the open, I don't have a problem with lobbyists, as no one is forcing the politicians to meet with them.