So the John McCain story hit last night and as the blogosphere hashes it out as well as mainstream news, I’ve had all night to think about it.
This isn’t a titillatingly story about infidelity or anything of that nature I don’t think. I could be wrong but I just don’t think it is.
It’s actually more complex than that. This is more about a relationship between a senator and a lobbyist and if that friendship helped her firm out in passing, and stifling, legislation. The realist in me says this is what lobbyists do. The political junkie in me says “What’s New? This crap happens all the time.”
And then I’m like, damn, I’m so tired of all of this because we are being governed by people whose agenda are swayed by the few.
But there are a few issues. First of all, the NYT’s story has little meat to it and not much gravy. There are too many unanswered questions in the bulk of the story. The timing of the release is also suspect and as Ginger stated in the comments of my last post, this could be the reason that Huckabee has stuck around. But in this generation’s news cycle that is so different than, let’s say Watergate or even the Iran-Contra scandal, this could be old hat by Saturday morning. Just opining here.
This is an odd story for a couple reasons. We know that the McCain Camp went to the mattresses to get this story spiked back in December. And some heavy legal muscle was apparently brought to bear. When a story has to go through that much lawyering it often comes out pretty stilted and with some obvious lacunae. And this one definitely qualifies. Reading the Times piece it struck me as a bit of a jumble. The reference to a possible affair is there in the lede. But then most of the piece is a rehash of a lot of older material about McCain’s record before getting back to the relationship with Iseman.
You see, the story has to do with the persona of McCain and not so much with the issue of impropriety of an intimate nature. And McCain tried to bury it. He’s been in a scandal before, you know. Let’s take a walk through history, shall we?
Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even 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.
It had been just a decade since an official favor for a friend with regulatory problems had nearly ended Mr. McCain’s political career by ensnaring him in the Keating Five scandal. In the years that followed, he reinvented himself as the scourge of special interests, a crusader for stricter ethics and campaign finance rules, a man of honor chastened by a brush with shame.
Here’s a breakdown for you younguns who might not remember the Keating Five.
So the question is more about political favors than it is anything else. And it doesn’t surprise me that McCain tried to squash it. Any politician would do that no matter what party they are affiliated with.
So the other question is why did the New York Times play along for awhile and is there anything significant about the release of these allegations. And did the LA Times squash it completely.
This honestly isn’t going to help McCain but the reality is that the backlash may hurt the newspapers for a variety of reasons.
You know, it never ceases to amaze me that everyone loves a good sex scandal but I don’t think you’re going to find that here.
The real story is about political favors.