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More GOSsy Goodness: McCain's Nuts in a Nutshell

chicago dyke's picture

That title is probably too clever by half, and I'm sure LB will yell at me for it, but he's busy elsewhere today so don't tell him, k? I submit this in full for those who've been too busy bashing Dems to notice the Republican frontrunner exploding in the room. It's been suggested to me that McCain running out of matching funds money practically guarantees Mittster as Veep, I'm not sure if I'm convinced but we'll see. Meanwhile, does the above play into the McCain/Iseman fun and games? Gotta love the Brit snark, "another pencil-thin blonde." Heh. Anyway, pass this one on to your Republican friends bitching about the "lying, librul JooYork Times." This is what blogs do best, and GOS is still a nice place to go for that. Remember, it's "what he did for her afterwards, not what he did to/under/with her in their as-yet undefined private time before."

British papers seem to have a handle on it. From the conservative Times:

John McCain’s denials start to unravel in tale of the blonde lobbyist
The Republican saviour is looking rattled after claims of a sex for favours scandal

The essence of the tale is fairly simple. Vicki Iseman, 40, a blonde telecommunications lobbyist, became friends with McCain, 71, eight years ago. Some advisers thought the relationship might be romantic.

There is no evidence of an affair but they were certainly cosy. Iseman accompanied him to fundraisers, travelled with him on a client’s jet and appeared to trade on her relationship with him to such an extent that McCain’s senior advisers warned her to back off.

Adding spice to the story, Iseman appears to resemble McCain’s wife, Cindy, another pencil-thin blonde, who stood by her husband last week as he repeatedly denied both the sexual innuendo and specific allegations of favours in the story.

John Weaver, who was once one of McCain’s closest aides but quit his campaign last summer, said he remembered meeting Iseman at Washington’s railway station and asked her to keep her distance from McCain, a member of the Senate commerce committee. He was concerned that Iseman’s boasts would damage McCain’s reputation because he had taken such a prominent stand against special interests and lobbying.

Two anonymous former associates of McCain said they confronted the senator several times about the risk to his career of showing favouritism towards Iseman. McCain wrote letters to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that were helpful to her clients, although there were other times, staff say, when he took a stand against their interests.

The thinly sourced tale had been knocking around The New York Times for months before it decided to publish, causing fury on the right that it had timed its onslaught last week to coincide with McCain’s all-but-declared victory in the Republican nomination battle.

and from the left leaning Guardian:

Whiff of scandal envelops McCain's campaign
The Republican frontrunner faces fresh allegations over lobbyist links

The scandal over Republican frontrunner John McCain's relationship with a female lobbyist took a new twist yesterday with revelations that he had met one of her clients.

McCain's campaign had earlier strongly denied that he had a meeting with wealthy broadcaster Lowell Paxson - a client of Washington-based lobbyist Vicki Iseman - before he sent two controversial letters urging a federal body to make a quick decision on Paxson's attempt to buy a television station.

The issue is important because McCain has made personal ethics a key plank of his so far successful bid to capture the Republican nomination. He frequently rails against the influence of lobbyists and the corrupting power of big business and money in politics.

But now he is mired in a scandal over his relationship with Iseman. McCain and Iseman have both strongly denied that they had an affair, but the emphasis of the story has since shifted towards McCain's relationship with Iseman's clients, which in the end could prove much more politically damaging.

It's the lobbyists, not the sex. Whether he cheated on his second wife like he admitted doing on his first isn't the point. As one wag put it, "it's not what McCain did to Iseman that matters, it's what he did for her." After all, this is a powerful Senator from the party that makes corruption an every month occurrence.

McCain In Oct. 2006: Renzi Has ' Tenacity, Honesty And Integrity Beyond Reproach'

This is Sen. John McCain. I'm calling to urge you to support my friend Rep. Rick Renzi for Congress. Rick has represented the first district of Arizona with tenacity, honesty and integrity beyond reproach. I work with Rick every day and can report to you his total dedication to the people of Arizona and the United States. Please join me in supporting rural Arizona's workhorse congressman on Nov. 7. [Paid for and authorized by Rick Renzi for Congress]."

McCains friend Renzi was indicted Friday.

So why look to the British press? Because McCain has played the American press for suckers and fools. In his biographical book Worth the Fighting For (p.192), McCain talks about how he got himself off the hook with the press over the banking scandal known as the Keating 5 by inventing the Straight Talk Express as a PR ploy (bolded mine):

I was in a hell of a mess. And I decided right then that not talking to reporters or sharply denying even the appearance of a problem wasn't going to do me any good. I would henceforth accept every single request for an interview from any source, prominent or obscure, and answer every question as completely and straightforwardly as I could. I was confident that the facts were on my side, and if the facts were disseminated broadly in the media would they spare me from a terrible fate. And they wouldn't be disseminated broadly unless I talked to the press constantly, ad infinitum, until their appetite for information from me was completely satisfied. It is a public relations strategy that I have followed to this day, and while it has gotten me in trouble from time to time, it has on the whole served both my interest and that of the public well.

After the NY Times story came out, McCain said he would not speak to the press about it again. So apparently he is no longer interested in serving the interest of the public.

Anytime John McCain declines to speak to the press, something horrible must be happening.

Currying favor with the press meant that his often crude and cruel sense of humor was overlooked (this 1998 piece by David Corn chronicles one such example):

"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
Because her father is Janet Reno."

...The joke did appear in McCain's hometown paper, the Arizona Republic, and the Associated Press did report the joke in full, so everyone in the press had access to McCain's words. But by censoring themselves, the Post, the Times and others helped McCain deflect flak and preserved his status as a Republican presidential contender.

McCain gets more than his share of breaks from the press, and now wants the thinly sourced sex aspects of the lobby scandal to obscure the solidly sourced influence peddling aspects:

Files and McCain Letter Show Effort to Keep Loophole

In late 1998, Senator John McCain sent an unusually blunt letter to the head of the Federal Communications Commission, warning that he would try to overhaul the agency if it closed a broadcast ownership loophole.

he letter, and two later ones signed by Mr. McCain, then chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, urged the commission to abandon plans to close a loophole vitally important to Glencairn Ltd., a client of Vicki Iseman, a lobbyist. The provision enabled one of the nation’s largest broadcasting companies, Sinclair, to use a marketing agreement with Glencairn, a far smaller broadcaster, to get around a restriction barring single ownership of two television stations in the same city.

The GOP candidate for President of the United States is in bed with the lobbyists, and wants kid gloves treatment from the press corps. Are they going to give it to him? Will they continue to be nice to him because they like him? Is it okay as long as you're a Republican? From the Politico:

Imagine for a moment the story had been about McCain’s possible opponent in the general election, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Might the conservatives have paused to ask why he hired Robert S. Bennett, one of the capital’s most fearsome and expensive lawyers?

Might they have wondered why he had flown aboard a private jet with the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman — on a flight paid for by her client? Might they have probed more deeply why she was supposedly hanging around the senator’s planes, office and events often enough that his staff tried to impose an unofficial restraining order on her?

The Times’ reporters and editors involved in this story are top-notch. Such stories usually only go into the paper when reporters and their editors feel certain they are true — because they know a vicious response will likely follow.

Most importantly with this one, John Weaver, a former McCain aide, is on the record in the Times story saying he warned off the young lobbyist. McCain denies impropriety, flatly and broadly

This lobbying scandal is well-grounded, and McCain's (and Iseman's) lobby ties need to be understood and covered by the press. Even as is, this is a political problem for McCain that goes way beyond bloviating conservative talk show hosts circling the wagons around a damaged candidate. More Politico:

This episode exposes, more clearly than ever, the business model for big-time conservative activism: Its lifeblood is this us-against-them mentality. It needs an enemy, be it The New York Times, or Obama, or secularism or illegal immigrants.

Cable TV has decided that if it's not a problem for Limbaugh and Ingraham (today), it's not a problem for McCain (ever). Make no mistake: as the Brits note, McCain is damaged by this and will be even more so as more comes out. The Brits get that; time will tell about the rest of the press corps.

Exactly, DFCT. So nice to know our media is more or less controlled by drug-addled boy-rapers (the DR is a top destination for child prostitution, natch) and snatch-photographing nutbag converts.

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bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Spider McCain has woven himself a tangled web over the years and maybe maybe it will come unraveled here. Dengre at Kos also has a nice piece on the perfidity of McCain, this one focused on Abramoff. The Straight Talker has corraled all the documents and is holding on to them as a way to coerce the Norquist crowd to dance for him this time around, as well as a club over the Bush family legacy. A President McCain will make the whole Abramoff scandal go away forever.

This is a long and twisted tale, tough to get into a soundbite but potentially devastating if it can be made understandable. Maybe rebrand him by calling his bus full of lobbyists the "Backdoor Express".

Jacuzzi, CD? You're prolific when you're soggy.