Thursday, February 21, 2008

Not St. McCain!

It's kind of amusing watching CNN -- all the guests, all the anchors, all the, well, everything is being thrown together to defend John McCain against the slanderous accusations against him in the NY Times and the Washington Post this morning.

Amusing, because no politician, anywhere, at anytime, has had a protection racket the way John McCain does in the US media. Lost in the issues of anonymous sourcing, McCain's denials, etc is a simple list of questions any journalist should ask themselves when they see this kind of story, regardless of the characters involved:

1) When was the last time you saw a prominent politician spend prolonged amounts of time with a women half his age and it didn't involve sex, money, or both?

2) When was the last time you saw a cornered politician not lie about their involvement with a scandal?

3) How much would you trust a man with a history of adultery and ethics problems? (His current wife is McCain's 2nd, whom he was sleeping with while married to his 1st. Cindy McCain was not the only woman John slept with who wasn't his wife.) I mean, I know sexual misconduct is basically an entry requirement for the GOP Caucus, but that's not exactly exculpatory.

4) How many non-denial-denials do you need to hear before you start assuming the smoke really does mean there's fire out there? "No romantic relationship"? Naw, we're just fuck-buddies.

The other sad thing was watching Jon Stewart rush to McCain's defense last night on Larry King. Look, Jon, I know McCain's "a friend of the show", but he's still a politician, and yes they can disappoint you sometimes.


Steve V said...

Regardless of party persuasion, this is really a bullshit hit job. I'm really surprised that the NYT would use so much inneundo and unsubstantiated conjecture to weave what amounts to a National Enquirer story.

The article speaks of McCain and this woman on a private jet together, conveniently failing to mention that there were several aides on board too. Why? Trying to sell papers? No evidence of any romantic encounters, none, just the spectacle of staff worried about McCain hanging around a lobbyist. Seems to me, the only relevant part of this story is whether McCain used his influence to help a lobbyist, and from what I've read, the record shows he sometimes sided, sometimes opposed the lobby's clients- that fact tends to support McCain's impartiality.

The NYT sat on this story for months, and it is fascinating that they endorsed McCain, despite having full knowledge of this story. This story is weak at best, mostly gossip. If people in McCain's camp were worried, it might have been the optics of having a lobbyist around, given McCain's high-profile stance against special interest. That doesn't translate to an affair, and there is NOTHING concrete in the NYT story to suggest that. The fact all this information was known to the NYT in December, and they have since been unable to verify anything further, probably says more about the lack of substance, than truly bad news for McCain. Who cares...

Steve V said...

In the end, I bet this story ends up helping McCain.

john said...

2 things: First, we don't know what the NYT has and doesn't have. There's already plenty of stories about the brass kneecapping the reporters, and frankly I weigh factor #1 (re: sex and money) more heavily than I weigh McCain's account.

Second, the last time the NYT sat on a story, it was about illegal wiretapping. Which, as we all know, turned out to be bogus... oh wait.

That said, the NYT and the WashPo seem to both have stories on this now, which makes me lean towards the "bullshit" theory.

Steve V said...


And, you will notice the WP makes NO mention of the sex aspect to the story, NONE.

From what I've read, there was a fierce debate in the NYT whether to post this story or not. This story has been sitting at the NYT since November, it was actually reported by Drudge in December. In January, the NYT wrote a flattering endorsement of McCain. What does it say about a paper that they call someone "ethical and principled", lavish praise, with full knowledge of this supposed scandal?? How can you endorse someone, you think was giving favors to lobbyists, screwing around on his wife, all the while claiming to be a saint?

The only part of this story that is relevant, or maybe even true, is whether McCain used his influence to help this lobbyist. From what I understand, there where 11 occasions, where matters regarding hte firm she represented came before the Commerce Committee, of which McCain was chair, and McCain voted against or scuttled their arguments. If, we are to believe that McCain was corrupt, why then did he work against their interests? Makes no sense.

Here's my take. This lobbyist was hanging around, developed a friendship with McCain. His handlers, and this was clarified today by the guy who went on record, decided that they didn't like the optics of a lobbyist around the anti-special interest candidate, during a presidential run. Now, that makes sense, and this was confirmed today, it was not about a relationship.

Just remember, when this nonsense starts with Obama....and it will.

Steve V said...

Sorry, just to clarify. McCain's former aide, John Weaver, said today that he confronted her, because there were rumors that she was telling people she had influence with McCain, she was trying to get clients. It was when McCain's aide became aware of this that he confronted her and told her to stay away. This was said, on the record today, form the source the NYT apparently vetted. Why wasn't this known, or was this information suppressed?