Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Still No Substance.

E.J. Dionne writes in the Post about McCain's allegedy malfeasance with lobbyists (after discarding the Iseman story):

...But McCain's denials didn't stop at sex, and the story didn't, either. The same day the Times ran its account, The Post ran a story that stayed away from the "romantic" angle but reported (as the Times also had) that McCain had written two letters to the Federal Communications Commission, urging that it vote on the sale of a Pittsburgh television station to Paxson Communications, one of Iseman's clients.

The Post wrote: "At the time he sent the first letter, McCain had flown on Paxson's corporate jet four times to appear at campaign events and had received $20,000 in campaign donations from Paxson and its law firm. The second letter came on Dec. 10, a day after the company's jet ferried him to a
Florida fundraiser that was held aboard a yacht in West Palm Beach."

In denouncing the Times story, McCain's campaign denied that he had met with
Lowell "Bud" Paxson, president of the firm. But Paxson later told The Post that he had met with McCain. More telling, Newsweek reported this weekend that McCain himself acknowledged in a 2002 deposition that he had met with Paxson.

As Newsweek
wrote, "With his typically blunt, almost cheery way of admitting the sinfulness of man, including his own weaknesses, he acknowledged in the deposition that his relationship with Paxson . . . would 'absolutely' look corrupt to the ordinary voter."

And on Friday, The Post
reported that while McCain may relish attacking lobbyists, many top officials of his campaign -- including Rick Davis, his campaign manager, and Charlie Black, his chief political adviser -- are themselves well-known lobbyists with long client lists...

Can we please be grown ups about lobbyists and lobbying? Fact: everybody lobbies - corporations, environmental, education, civil rights, and arts interest groups as well. It's a constitutional right to petition the government for the redress of grievances. Fact: lobbyists are politically active people and all three major candidates have lobbyists working on their campaigns. Many, many, many interest groups give money to candidates, for example George Soros' support of Barack Obama. The essential question is: have these public officials exchanged political, monetary, or other favors for delivery of favorable legislation, regulation, etc.? In the case of McCain, the answer is, no matter how the media attempts to slice their baloney, is no. McCain wrote letters to the FCC asking for a ruling on a rule after an excessively long waiting period, but did not ask for a particular ruling. Also, have these public officials violated ethics rules or guidelines in their interaction with advocacy groups? The Times' original story indicates McCain did violate such a rule when a representative, but repaired the error when it was pointed out.

Dionne is asking for an appearance of purity well beyond the requirement that burdened Caesar's wife, and such a requirement will bring government to a screeching halt.

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