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Oh, Senator!
February 21, 2008 2:13 AM   Subscribe

This little news story might be slightly damaging to John McCain's campaign. You know how the press lets stuff like this slide. uno dos tres cuatro cinco sex?
posted by chuckdarwin (250 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Iseman, who joined the Arlington, Va.-based firm of Alcalde & Fay as a secretary and rose to partner within a few years.

Wow. That is, like, UNHEARD of. In all the DC law firms I've ever worked in, that feat would be akin to walking to the Moon and back.
posted by Dave Faris at 2:20 AM on February 21, 2008


Picture of Iseman.
posted by Dave Faris at 2:24 AM on February 21, 2008


Um, who the hell cares?
posted by Malor at 2:29 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Alcalde & Fay is a lobbying firm not a law firm.
posted by sien at 2:33 AM on February 21, 2008


It's good to see both sides behaving the way they did with Mondale and Clinton.
posted by sien at 2:36 AM on February 21, 2008


Let's the Republicans be thankful for small mercies. At least it's a grown woman.
posted by PenDevil at 2:40 AM on February 21, 2008 [20 favorites]


He's got better taste than Clinton
posted by mattoxic at 2:45 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Two adults having sex. Good God, when will this madness end?
posted by From Bklyn at 2:50 AM on February 21, 2008 [15 favorites]


I don't know. It sounds to me like no blow jobs were harmed in this story. I can't help thinking this one will go the way of the infamous "Dan Quayle's drug dealer" stories from the Bush/Quayle election.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:51 AM on February 21, 2008


I hear she lets him be on top sometimes. That's a better deal that he's been getting from Bush.
posted by Optamystic at 2:58 AM on February 21, 2008 [16 favorites]


I'm tired of this bullshit in politics. John McCain would be a bad president. This "story" isn't why. This is why.
posted by grouse at 3:03 AM on February 21, 2008 [24 favorites]


The Iseman Commeth!
posted by the dief at 3:14 AM on February 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


Mr. Chief Justice, I intend to vote to convict the President of the United States on both articles of impeachment. To say I do so with regret will sound trite to some, but I mean it sincerely. I deeply regret that this day has come to pass.

I bear no animosity for the President. I take no partisan satisfaction from this matter. I don't lightly dismiss the public's clear opposition to conviction. And I am genuinely concerned that the institution of the Presidency not be harmed, either by the President's conduct, or by Congress' reaction to his conduct.
-- John McCain - February 12, 1999

So yeah, um, Fuck him.
posted by Optamystic at 3:15 AM on February 21, 2008 [40 favorites]


I'm tired of this bullshit in politics. John McCain would be a bad president. This "story" isn't why.

You're right. I think the real thing about this is that the NYT actually went with this.

King / Stewart
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:26 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


as far as I'm concerned, optamystic nailed it.
posted by kbanas at 3:42 AM on February 21, 2008


Please, don't let there be any videos.
posted by chillmost at 3:53 AM on February 21, 2008


2nding optamystic, 3rding kbanas. I vote to pre-impeach.
posted by ewkpates at 3:54 AM on February 21, 2008


Best of the web!
posted by Eideteker at 4:03 AM on February 21, 2008


Well, that might explain why the hell Huckabee still hasn't pulled out.

He's only mathematically impossible so long as the presumptive nominee doesn't fuck up or die.
posted by genghis at 4:08 AM on February 21, 2008


Well, that might explain why the hell Huckabee still hasn't pulled out.

Oh, the innuendo. Make it stop.
posted by chillmost at 4:12 AM on February 21, 2008 [5 favorites]


If you read the NYT article, the primary issue isn't whether or not they may have had a romantic relationship, but rather the fact that McCain having such close ties to her and other lobbyists and potentially doing favors for their clients is a problem given that his campaign in 2000 centered around reforming exactly those practices.
posted by emmastory at 4:16 AM on February 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


"I've never done any favors for anybody — lobbyist or special-interest group. That's a clear, 24-year record," he [McCain] told reporters in Detroit.

Oh, really?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:22 AM on February 21, 2008 [6 favorites]


Find me the proof that he did Hillary and I'll find it interesting...even more-so if it was a three way with Ron Paul.

Otherwise....To quote a famous U of M hockey chant.... "Who Cares?"
posted by HuronBob at 4:23 AM on February 21, 2008


Her partners at Alcalde & Fay include L.A. "Skip" Bafalis, a former five-term Republican congressman from Florida, and Michael Brown, the son of former Commerce Secretary Ronald Brown and a former Democratic candidate for mayor of Washington, D.C.

The firm's client list is heavy with municipalities and local government entities, which suggests that its major emphasis is on the controversial business of winning narrowly targeted, or "earmarked," appropriations.


I don't care if Senator McCain was screwing a female lobbyist. What I want know is how much the American public was getting screwed because of this unholy relationship.
posted by three blind mice at 4:50 AM on February 21, 2008


Um, who the hell cares?

Ummm.... the numerous campaign aides who were terrified this would kill the campaign and both his and their careers? The many lobbyists of competing offices who would be upset about the improper (and actually illegal) issue of McCain using his position in the Senate to acquire political favors for a particular lobbyist he was screwing on the side? The voters who might be slightly concerned that McCain could have been making key legislative decisions based on who he was fucking? The people who might find it somewhat ironic or hypocritical that he was doing this while voting to impeach Bill Clinton for lying about an affair as well as covering up trying to get a job for his mistress?

All of which you would have known, rather quickly, if you weren't in a race to be the first to not read the article and just whine about it being "newsfilter" or "boring" or whatever.

As emmastory pointed out the NY Times piece, the primary source her, covers this in more detail than the Seattle Times piece in the FPP.

Josh Marshall also addresses the story, and offers the likely-correct insight that McCain's lawyers forced much of the article to be cleansed before printing, but the Times decided to run it anyway before they were scooped (according to the New Republic, they are running an article shortly not about the actual story, but about the Times' own reluctance to run it)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:52 AM on February 21, 2008 [12 favorites]


The timing of this release is to defuse the bomb well before the election. That's why his former aides spoke to the NYT now. If the Democrats were behind it, it would have come closer to the election.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:55 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, if this was to come out early in the republican primary process, but got delayed/held .... does that mean that it was an inter-republican attack/leak has now become a republican nominee scandal?
posted by R. Mutt at 4:59 AM on February 21, 2008


Key line from Marshall:
Equally telling, though, is the McCain camp's response and their clear unwillingness to address or deny any the key charges of the piece. (Read the statement closely. It's all bluster.) When it comes to sex stories even falsely accused politicians have some reluctance to get into nitty gritty denials. But McCain -- or rather McCain's communications office since it's in their name not his -- doesn't even address it.
Granted, that part leans into "yeah, but we'll make him have to deny it!" territory, but seriously- after both parties in the affair claimed in the article that they weren't involved, the almost deliberate steps taken by McCain's campaign in this statement to not actually deny the charges against him are deafening.

If the Democrats were behind it, it would have come closer to the election.

Maybe, just maybe, they had a story, needed time to back sources, had to vet denials from associated parties, and had to make a decision to run based on time and the amount of verified data incorporated. It's a shame that journalism is so rare in this day and age that when it actually happens people wonder what they're seeing.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:01 AM on February 21, 2008


McCain's aides have now released a 1,500 word rebuttal to the story.
posted by Poolio at 5:03 AM on February 21, 2008


Ummmm...the folder CLEARLY said, "Hold until September 2008."
posted by ColdChef at 5:06 AM on February 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


It's not the sex, it's the favors, and then McCain fails to deny the allegations. Yeah, he's the guy to clean up Washington.
posted by caddis at 5:07 AM on February 21, 2008


It's established. McCain is a damned lobbyist-lover.
posted by XMLicious at 5:12 AM on February 21, 2008


Um, who the hell cares?
Be more specific, please. Who the hell cares about what?

Who the hell cares that he may have had an affair?

His wife, I imagine.

Who the hell cares that he may have traded his influence as a United States Senator to a lobbyist in exchange for sex?

Um, me, for one.
posted by Flunkie at 5:14 AM on February 21, 2008 [12 favorites]


You make me laugh with all your conspiracies and concern about journalistic ethics when the simple answer is staring you in the face... maybe God just really doesn't want him to be president.
posted by Kattullus at 5:16 AM on February 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


If you read the NYT article, the primary issue isn't whether or not they may have had a romantic relationship, but rather the fact that McCain having such close ties to her and other lobbyists and potentially doing favors for their clients is a problem given that his campaign in 2000 centered around reforming exactly those practices.

Exactly. From the NYT's article:
" champion of deregulation, Mr. McCain wrote letters in 1998 and 1999 to the Federal Communications Commission urging it to uphold marketing agreements allowing a television company to control two stations in the same city, a crucial issue for Glencairn Ltd., one of Ms. Iseman’s clients. […]

In late 1999, Ms. Iseman asked Mr. McCain’s staff to send a letter to the commission to help Paxson, now Ion Media Networks, on another matter. Mr. Paxson was impatient for F.C.C. approval of a television deal, and Ms. Iseman acknowledged in an e-mail message to The Times that she had sent to Mr. McCain’s staff information for drafting a letter urging a swift decision.

Mr. McCain complied. He sent two letters to the commission, drawing a rare rebuke for interference from its chairman."
posted by ericb at 5:16 AM on February 21, 2008


You have to admit, though. A Senator willing to trade sex for influence is pretty mavericky. Wait...what's the other word? Oh right. Sleazy.
posted by DU at 5:18 AM on February 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Iseman's firm has apparently scrubbed the client list on their website.
posted by Poolio at 5:20 AM on February 21, 2008


Iseman's firm has apparently scrubbed the client list on their website.
If I'm reading that right, that would be an odd way to do so. Change it so the username/password that the web server uses to access the database can no longer do so?

In any case, here's the google cache.
posted by Flunkie at 5:25 AM on February 21, 2008


Meet the Firm also appears to have been scrubbed.
posted by Poolio at 5:26 AM on February 21, 2008


Alcalde & Fay client list in Google cache
posted by DU at 5:26 AM on February 21, 2008


Why Did The NYT Hold McCain-Lobbyist Story?
“....In the wake of revelations that Sen. John McCain had a close and perhaps romantic relationship with a telecommunications lobbyist, political observers are left wondering why The New York Times chose to run the article when it did. Meanwhile, conservatives are contemplating how different the election would be had the story been published sooner.

In the aftermath of the Times story, some subtle but important information has come unearthed showing how McCain's relationship with 40-year-old Vicki Iseman, a partner with the firm Alcalde & Fay, became public.

Bob Bennett, a powerful D.C. attorney and lawyer for McCain, acknowledged the extent of his fervent efforts to kill the story for the first time during an interview on Fox News.

‘I did have several conversations and one meeting with the New York Times reporters and repeatedly provided them answers to their questions,’ he said Thursday evening. ‘And I was satisfied that there was nothing here. But no, I worked very hard at it.’

As Bennett notes, news that the Times had an article on McCain's relationship with Iseman was known months ago, albeit with only slight hints of the romantic angle.

In December, the Drudge Report wrote that McCain was waging a ‘ferocious behind the scenes battle with the Times... against charges of giving special treatment to a lobbyist.’

Soon after, the Washington Post's media reporter Howard Kurtz penned an item in which McCain was quoted as saying he had ‘never done any favors for anybody -- lobbyist or special interest group.’ Allegations otherwise, he added, were ‘gutter politics.’

Other journalists believed to be on the story included, according to Radar Magazine's Charles Kaiser, Michael Isikoff of Newsweek and Michael Calderone of Politico.

So why would the Times hesitate to act? A number of theories, beyond threats of legal action, have been batted around by analysts. They range from the generous -- the paper could simply have thought it unfair to publish the story on the eve of a slew or presidential primaries -- to the nefarious -- the Times was waiting to unload on McCain only after he secured the nomination.

‘Everyone accuses the New York Times of liberal bias,’ political analyst Keli Goff speculated on CNN. ‘If they wanted to play politics, they could have sat on the story and waited until you have perhaps an Obama-McCain match-up and drop this baby in October when it really matters. I think that this idea of...them playing politics with it to, you know, harm the Republican Party, I don't know if we can really agree with that.’

Timely competitive pressures also may have been in play. As the McCain story was making the rounds on the cable news networks Wednesday evening, news surfaced that The New Republic had been slated to do a piece of its own. The magazine's blog noted that a story on the Times' foot-dragging will appear on the site on Thursday.

Regardless of the paper's motives, conservative pundits were left fuming, noting that the Times had, at once, spared McCain at the point of his greatest vulnerability (when his campaign was still a long shot) and denied his primary opponents perhaps the knock-out blow. Would the GOP have a different candidate on its hands had things been handled differently?”
posted by ericb at 5:26 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Poolio: "Iseman's firm has apparently scrubbed the client list on their website."

That page seems to be having some ColdFusion issues anyway but here is the most recent archive.org mirror of that list.
posted by octothorpe at 5:28 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


If I'm reading that right, that would be an odd way to do so.

Well, maybe "scrubbed" was the wrong word... but they appear to have done something to hide the info.
posted by Poolio at 5:30 AM on February 21, 2008


Evidence of an affair in McCain's past with even more disturbing inclinations for our political future.
posted by DU at 5:31 AM on February 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


Meet the Firm also appears to have been scrubbed.

Yep. As reported last night ...

Vicki Iseman's Bio Pulled From Web
"Within hours of the New York Times story going public, Vicki Iseman's bio was pulled from the web site of her firm, Alcade and Faye.

We've captured a screenshot (click for a larger image), and here's a cached version still available online."
posted by ericb at 5:32 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Political Wire is reporting that McCain will hold a press conference this morning to discuss the story.

Should be interesting.
posted by Poolio at 5:32 AM on February 21, 2008


NPR just said McCain was having a press conference this morning.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 5:33 AM on February 21, 2008


Yeah, archive.org's a better cache source since the cached version won't go away . But, the latest archive.org cache was from August of last year, and is missing several that are present in the latest google cache, plus it includes one that is missing from the latest google cache:

In google, not in archive.org:In archive.org, not in google:posted by Flunkie at 5:34 AM on February 21, 2008


Let's the Republicans be thankful for small mercies. At least it's a grown woman.

This will only convince the far right that he is a closet democrat.
posted by srboisvert at 5:34 AM on February 21, 2008 [17 favorites]


"I've never done any favors for anybody — lobbyist or special-interest group."

That's your smoking gun right there. John McCain is an ungentlemanly cad.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:43 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I've never done any favors for anybody — lobbyist or special-interest group."
Wow, that's a bald-faced lie. Keating Five.
posted by Flunkie at 5:49 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


they don't have anything solid; no evidence, basic innuendo about something that may or may not have happened 9 years ago. this is a bit like the CBS-Bush AWOL fiasco; take a shot at someone with a crumpled paper ball, they won't suffer any damage AND you'll look like you're in bad faith AND you'll inoculate against future revelations on the same topic.

also, the fact that the NYT (aka, in rightwingspeak, "the Jews") attacks McCain only makes him more popular among those on the right who call him "Juan McCain" because he doesn't hate the Mexicans as much as they do. and as bad and old as he looks nowadays, the sheer idea that at least 9 years he could still get it up can only make him look healthier and younger.

all in all, a big win for McCain. and another example of bad journalism for the paper formerly known as an important paper. they should have spiked the story because it's very weak, not because of some phantom form of censorship. this stuff only makes McCain stronger; he needs help, but then again he'll have to run against one of the easiest targets of the politics of resentment, the uppity Negro. McCain will be OK.


The voters who might be slightly concerned that McCain could have been making key legislative decisions based on who he was fucking?

he started out in politics as Keating's butler, for fuck's sake, and he still built a career as a anti-corruption maverick Bull Moose style straight-shooter. who he may have been fucking is irrelevant.
posted by matteo at 5:52 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


that at least 9 years ago he could still get it up
posted by matteo at 5:55 AM on February 21, 2008


McCain's press conference will be taking place at 9 am ET.
posted by Poolio at 5:55 AM on February 21, 2008


[Huckabee's] only mathematically impossible so long as the presumptive nominee doesn't fuck up or die.

In the totally unlikely event that McCain drops out at this point Romney (at least) would reenter the race and the GOP would have to have a brokered convention to assign delegates and determine the nominee. Huckabee still would have even less of a chance than he does now in that circumstance, as party officials would basically have total control of the nomination.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:00 AM on February 21, 2008


Are we really surprised that McCain had friendships (romantic or otherwise) that influenced his activities as a public figure? Come on folks, you live in the US, get a grip on the reality of life in DC.

Someone find me a politician that hasn't listened to, and acted on, the opinions and words of friends, lovers, business associates, pastors, rabbis, priests, teachers, mentors, girlfriends, wives, parents, grandparents, cab drivers, husbands, and next door neighbors as they made decisions...

I don't really give a rat's ass as to who a politician listens to, my hope is that they listen to everyone, and then make a decision that upholds their oath of office based on the best information they can gather. For christ's sake, if you don't listen to those that advocate FOR a postion, and only listen to those that oppose it, is that any way to come to the best conclusion..

....that said, McCain can go fuck himself for all I care, his downside isn't that he did some bimbo in dc, but that he's just another war monger (please note that I put the dems in that pot as well).
posted by HuronBob at 6:01 AM on February 21, 2008


McCain only makes him more popular among those on the right...

Too bad he already won that election. Now he needs to convince non-insane people that he's the Right Man For The Job. (And the GOP can no longer win by getting their entire base, plus one deluded independent, to the polls.)

...he'll have to run against one of the easiest targets of the politics of resentment, the uppity Negro.

Obama beats McCain in the general public, though I will concede that if they used a time machine to take this poll 50 years ago you'd be right.
posted by DU at 6:02 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


From one of ericb's links:Regardless of the paper's motives, conservative pundits were left fuming, noting that the Times had, at once, spared McCain at the point of his greatest vulnerability (when his campaign was still a long shot) and denied his primary opponents perhaps the knock-out blow. Would the GOP have a different candidate on its hands had things been handled differently?”

This is the part that seems insane to me. Anyone in the GOP that can't see that McCain was and is there best shot at the White House this election is nuts! They should be thanking the Times for holding the story until now. I can't figure out how the timing does anything but work in their favor: late enough to save the GOP from themselves (essentially pushing the GOP civil war until after the election, no matter what Rush and Ann say), and too early to really damage his chances in the general election.
posted by OmieWise at 6:05 AM on February 21, 2008


If you read the NYT article, the primary issue isn't whether or not they may have had a romantic relationship

i daresay the religious right may have a problem with that - unless mccain can be convincing in his denials, he's in trouble, even if he hasn't done anything legally wrong
posted by pyramid termite at 6:07 AM on February 21, 2008


It really doesn't matter who the GOP fields. I don't see Obama losing to anyone. The media and public love him. He's handsome, charming and optimistic, he's new and different, he has a cute, photogenic family. Does Joe Blow on the street want Yet Another Boring Old White Guy Who Drones About (Pro!) Iraq Policy?
posted by DU at 6:08 AM on February 21, 2008


Fun little variation on the old Fortune Cookie game: When you read her bio, add the words "in bed" to the end of every sentence.
posted by Optamystic at 6:13 AM on February 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


This will only convince the far right that he is a closet democrat.

They're already convinced of that. Out of pique, after the '00 election, McCain talked of leaving his party.

This looks like an RNC ratfuck to me. Republicans eat their own. They fucked George Herbert Walker Bush in '92, they fucked Johnny Mac in '00, and now it looks like they're prepared to fuck him again in '08.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:15 AM on February 21, 2008


I live in NYC, subscribe to the Times and have friends who work there, and have every expectation I'll vote for the democratic candidate in November. I think this makes the paper look bad, re-enforces the public conception that they're the democratic house organ, and doesn't really hurt McCain. From the article, it's as easy to conclude that this was a case of a lobbyist claiming she had more access than she did as it is to conclude that he was having an 'inappropriate' relationship.

McCain calls a press conference right away, answers all questions calmly and competently, and gets the sympathies of the republicans who see one of their own being beaten up by the 'liberal media'.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:17 AM on February 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Someone find me a politician that hasn't listened to, and acted on, the opinions and words of friends, lovers, business associates, pastors, rabbis, priests, teachers, mentors, girlfriends, wives, parents, grandparents, cab drivers, husbands, and next door neighbors as they made decisions...
That totally misses the point.

This is (potentially) far more than simply "McCain listened to what his mistress had to say when making his policy decisions".

It's (potentially) "McCain used his position as a Senator to gain money and favors from the government for his mistress and her clients".
posted by Flunkie at 6:17 AM on February 21, 2008


Let's the Republicans be thankful for small mercies. At least it's a grown woman.

Brings to mind Edwin Edwards, Governor of Louisiana (during his 1983 candidacy against David Treen):
"The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy"
posted by ericb at 6:18 AM on February 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


well, after watching the press conference and related photos of the alleged mistress... she does ok on the beauty department, did well with the judges in the evening gown competition, but, as far as performance, John didn't mention one way or the other...
posted by HuronBob at 6:18 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


flunkie...what's the difference?
posted by HuronBob at 6:19 AM on February 21, 2008


Just out of curiosity, I wonder if this is the story this was referring to back in October. Interestingly, when I google it now it seems like almost all the places talking about it back then were right-wing sites, trying to figure out whether it was about a republican or a democrat.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 6:20 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


From the article, it's as easy to conclude that this was a case of a lobbyist claiming she had more access than she did as it is to conclude that he was having an 'inappropriate' relationship.
That's funny, because the article (at least the original NYT one, I haven't read others yet) says that two of McCain's associates who confronted McCain about his relationship with this lobbyist both said that "Mr. McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately".
posted by Flunkie at 6:22 AM on February 21, 2008


Agreed; he was shtupping a *lobbyist* for whom he did favors. That's the corruption. I don't care if she fucked him in the ass with a strapon dildo or pretended to talk like the Nanny in bed to turn him on.

As they loved saying when Clinton was busted, "it's not about the sex, it's about the lying."

And as optamystic said, he piled on the Clinton-got-a-BJ train back when, so Fuck McCain.

I also found Cindy McStraightTalk's ugly attack on Michelle Obama's little slip of the tongue very gross, so it's good to see a little payback for that. Interesting to that the lobbyist McCain was (reportedly) banging looks a lot like his wife. Methinks Johnny has a type.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:23 AM on February 21, 2008


TPAA: I have just listened to the press conference, and that's exactly what he did. Whatever other failings he might have, the man knows how to handle the press.
posted by GrammarMoses at 6:24 AM on February 21, 2008


And that type would be "so much plastic surgery and blond hair dye that you have no idea what she looked like when she was human."
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:24 AM on February 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


flunkie...what's the difference?
Are you seriously asking me the difference between a politician getting the opinions of other people, and a politician using his elected office on specifically behalf of, and for the benefit of, another person who happens to be both a lobbyist and his mistress?
posted by Flunkie at 6:24 AM on February 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, and Dormant Gorilla, given the timing, I think you are probably right.
posted by GrammarMoses at 6:27 AM on February 21, 2008


"Are you seriously asking me the difference between a politician getting the opinions of other people, and a politician using his elected office on specifically behalf of, and for the benefit of, another person who happens to be both a lobbyist and his mistress?"

Naw, flunkie.. I guess I'm just saying that until Senators Jesus, Gandhi, and Dalai Lama are running things in DC, they will probably be making most of the major decisions based on the yearnings and fluid output of the resident blond bimbos....

Or, in other words, the former doesn't exist....
posted by HuronBob at 6:34 AM on February 21, 2008


Wow, he looked really scared out there. Also, I really hate how he laughs at legitimate questions, as if they're too insignificant for him to bother answering.
posted by naoko at 6:34 AM on February 21, 2008


Flunkie: That's funny, because the article (at least the original NYT one, I haven't read others yet) says that two of McCain's associates who confronted McCain about his relationship with this lobbyist both said that "Mr. McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately".

Yep. I read it too. "Behaving inappropriately" is still a long way from "fucking", and apparently the Times couldn't get anyone to assert the latter.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:34 AM on February 21, 2008


It really doesn't matter who the GOP fields. I don't see Obama losing to anyone. The media and public love him. He's handsome, charming and optimistic, he's new and different, he has a cute, photogenic family. Does Joe Blow on the street want Yet Another Boring Old White Guy Who Drones About (Pro!) Iraq Policy?

I wish I could be so sanguine. Regardless of how you feel about Obama, it's a mistake to think that he's invulnerable. He really hasn't been attacked yet, and one of the reasons he has looked so good is in comparison to HRC. I know the national polls favor him over McCain right now, but at this point I think it's a bit early to trust them. Obama hasn't really been attacked, he hasn't had to run against a man, a national hero (and I don't use that word lightly), who is strong in all the places where Obama is weak.

In addition, I don't think that his race is a non-issue, I think the US is still a deeply racist country, and that race (especially in private, behind the curtain) is something people vote on a lot: witness the Tenn senate race from 2006, in which veiled racist politics lead to Corker beating Ford, witness Willie Horton. The public conversation may or may not have changed, but I'm not sure yet what's happened to the private conversation. There have only been three African American Senators since Reconstruction, and only two (appointed) before that. Obama is currently the only AA Senator.

I'm not suggesting that Obama cannot be elected, or that he will not be, and I certainly hope that he is. There are a bunch of things working in his favor, but also some things working against him. I think talk of his inevitability in the general election is wishful at best, and deluded at worst.
posted by OmieWise at 6:35 AM on February 21, 2008 [8 favorites]


Yep. I read it too. "Behaving inappropriately" is still a long way from "fucking", and apparently the Times couldn't get anyone to assert the latter.
It is, however, exactly what you previously said that the article did not claim.
posted by Flunkie at 6:38 AM on February 21, 2008


Naw, flunkie.. I guess I'm just saying that until Senators Jesus, Gandhi, and Dalai Lama are running things in DC, they will probably be making most of the major decisions based on the yearnings and fluid output of the resident blond bimbos....
Oh, you're entirely right. Due to the well-founded basis of cynicism regarding politics, we should not be concerned about anything that a politician may do, because they're going to do it anyway. Kudos.
posted by Flunkie at 6:39 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


""I've never done any favors for anybody — lobbyist or special-interest group. That's a clear, 24-year record," he told reporters in Detroit."

O Rly?

"McCain had expressed interest in exploring the a la carte option for years before Cablevision advocated it, but did not take a formal position with regulators until after the company's first donation came in. Cablevision is the eighth-largest cable provider, serving about 3 million customers in the New York area."
posted by symbioid at 6:41 AM on February 21, 2008


Matteo had it. A big win for McCain.

McCain's ideal campaign strategy:

1. Get Hillary nominated.
2. Make enemies with the New York Times.
3. Solidify conservative base.

Of course, there's always the chance the Times really does have a source ready to go public but all in all, I am very disappointed with that newspaper. McCain is all over the news this morning and nearly all of the coverage is sympathetic to him. Fucking brilliant.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:41 AM on February 21, 2008


Flunkie: Yes, I wasn't clear enough. I was attempting to make a distinction between what was in the article and the conclusions that (especially republican) readers would draw. "Behaving inappropriately" is broad enough to be meaningless.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:46 AM on February 21, 2008


No discussion about John McCain is complete without this.
posted by ColdChef at 6:49 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can see this story being used by the right-wing radio hosts and bloggers as a convenient cover for their 180 degree turn from ripping McCain apart and calling him a RINO during the primary and supporting him 100% in the general. There's nothing like using a fight against the supposedly liberal New York Times to rally the troops around and issue. Never mind that they're not really much more liberal than Washington Times but for some reason that tag sticks.
posted by octothorpe at 6:49 AM on February 21, 2008


For a "straight talker" that has been running as a "maverick" who is not beholden to corporate interests as the rest of the GOP, I think inappropriate + lobbyist is specific enough.

my fingers hurt from all those airquotes.... fucking politics.
posted by butterstick at 6:50 AM on February 21, 2008


IOKIYAR
posted by mondo dentro at 6:51 AM on February 21, 2008


I don't see Obama losing to anyone.

We said in '04 that we couldn't conceive a way that Bush could win a second term.

GET TO THE POLLS, BRING A FRIEND
posted by fusinski at 6:52 AM on February 21, 2008 [6 favorites]


As little as I care for its editorial page, the NYT does a good job of keeping the news pages from blatant election manipulation. This is not to say that the news pages aren't horribly biased by Brooklyn-Montclair group-think or sucking up to the Manhattan financial and cultural elite, but neither is intentionally designed to elect Democrats.

For serious manipulation, you have to look at such things as the election-eve LA Times story in 2003 about Arnold Schwarzenegger's alleged sexual harassment on film sets.
posted by MattD at 6:53 AM on February 21, 2008


Regardless of how you feel about Obama, it's a mistake to think that he's invulnerable.

With regard to the nomination, I think this is very true. Ms. Clinton will fight tooth and nail, to the bitter end, using every weapon at her disposal. Should Mr. Obama win the nomination, however, I do not believe there is a Republican who could stand against him and prevail in the general election.

Disclosure: I am a lifelong Republican.
Further Disclosure: I would sooner shave my head with a cheese grater than vote for McCain.
posted by DWRoelands at 6:56 AM on February 21, 2008 [5 favorites]


A politician is slimy. Film at 11.
posted by drstein at 7:00 AM on February 21, 2008


"Oh, you're entirely right. Due to the well-founded basis of cynicism regarding politics, we should not be concerned about anything that a politician may do, because they're going to do it anyway."

there ya go! now you get it! now, go have a beer....
posted by HuronBob at 7:02 AM on February 21, 2008


"I would sooner shave my head with a cheese grater than vote for McCain."

That's probably too long for a bumper sticker, eh?
posted by HuronBob at 7:04 AM on February 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


Too bad this didn't come out after he got the nomination. On the other hand, when a republican does something like this it's no big deal, yet if it was a democrat, they'd be out for blood.
posted by mike3k at 7:07 AM on February 21, 2008


Did he waterboard her? Since he seems to like that technique.
posted by destro at 7:09 AM on February 21, 2008


If he did have an affair, I'm sure it was only because his party needed him to. He'll do anything for the republican party, as its been very very good to him.
posted by Fupped Duck at 7:09 AM on February 21, 2008


I guess I'm just saying that until Senators Jesus, Gandhi, and Dalai Lama are running things in DC, they will probably be making most of the major decisions based on the yearnings and fluid output of the resident blond bimbos....
...
A politician is slimy. Film at 11.

You guys realize that these are conservative talking points, right? They hate government. They want corporations (and churches) to be unregulated. If they can get people disgusted and cynical and full of low expectations, they win.

Obviously politicians are human beings so there are going to be scandals. The important thing is to have a system in place that removes the corrupt, rather than just throwing up your hands and saying 'they all do it".
posted by DU at 7:12 AM on February 21, 2008 [13 favorites]


With regard to the nomination, I think this is very true. Ms. Clinton will fight tooth and nail, to the bitter end, using every weapon at her disposal. Should Mr. Obama win the nomination, however, I do not believe there is a Republican who could stand against him and prevail in the general election.

I agree that Senator Clinton is far from out of this and won't be out of it until Senator Obama walks out of the convention with the nomination. Having said that I will reiterate what has been said upthread: there is far more racism in this country than those of us who hang out in the blue would like to believe. Far more. McCain vs. Obama is by no means a foregone conclusion, in my opinion.

P.S.: I would sooner shave my head with a cheese grater than vote for McCain, as well. But there are other parts of my body I would shave with that cheese grater before I voted for Clinton.
posted by The Bellman at 7:15 AM on February 21, 2008


You guys realize that these are conservative talking points, right? They hate government. They want corporations (and churches) to be unregulated. If they can get people disgusted and cynical and full of low expectations, they win.

Yeah I hate that attitude. It is just naivete posing as cynical world-weariness. You think cause you find that bumper sticker about small groups of people changing the world annoying that it makes you special? Drop that sad fucking act and join the adults out here in the real world. We have a lot of work to do and we could use the help.
posted by ND¢ at 7:19 AM on February 21, 2008 [12 favorites]


DU... in all seriousness...

I've been around long enough, and observed enough, to firmly believe that Lord Acton was right when he said "All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely."

If we place our hopes that this world (and, specifically, this country) will change in the hands of politicians, we will be disappointed -every-single-time!

Good for you if you still believe! And I'm not telling you to stop, I'm just not riding that train any longer.

The change in our culture will be more organic, it will happen from the bottom up, it will probably not be pleasant.

Somebody show me how the political culture in this country hasn't snowballed downhill into further corruption since the moment the last signature dried on the Constitution and I'll reconsider my position.
posted by HuronBob at 7:22 AM on February 21, 2008


This story has nothing to do with McCain also supporting the veto on the ban of waterboarding. NOTHING!
posted by destro at 7:22 AM on February 21, 2008


I don't get the racism angle. If racism was an issue, why would Obama be doing well in polls?

Yes yes, I've heard the "closet racist" theory. It makes no sense. Say I'm a closet racist. If I get polled, why can't I just vote for some non-black candidate? Should be easy enough to justify, even to myself.

And in any case, the closet racist theory is that people will poll one way but then vote their bigotry the other. That isn't happening either. Obama is not just winning his primaries, he's winning general elections in those states. Obama got more votes in Iowa than any Republican. Same in Wisconsin.

When are these mythical closet racists going to put in an appearance?

Someone I work with posits the closet racist theory to me often. He uses that theory as an excuse not to vote for Obama. That's the racism. Ignoring the facts and trying to drag the discussion back to the demonstrable non-issue of skin color.
posted by DU at 7:22 AM on February 21, 2008


DWRoelands: "With regard to the nomination, I think this is very true. Ms. Clinton will fight tooth and nail, to the bitter end, using every weapon at her disposal. "

Bill would seem to be disagreeing with you there:
"If she wins Texas and Ohio I think she will be the nominee. If you don't deliver for her, I don't think she can be..."
Whatever you think about Ms. Clinton, I really don't see her tearing the party apart to get the nomination.
posted by octothorpe at 7:22 AM on February 21, 2008


The suggestion that a possible romantic involvement might have helped a lobbyist get special onsideration for a project that was under discussion, review, and passing and we are not supposed to care?What a strange view to take on the way democracy is supossed to function.

If you don't care about such things, why bother to vote on any candidate?
ps: I wait to see if the allegations are true or not.
posted by Postroad at 7:23 AM on February 21, 2008


If we place our hopes that this world (and, specifically, this country) will change in the hands of politicians, we will be disappointed -every-single-time!

Women, workers and former slaves may disagree with you that nothing every changes.
posted by DU at 7:25 AM on February 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


When are these mythical closet racists going to put in an appearance?

Gee whiz Beaver, maybe in the general election? There is nothing mythical about racism.
posted by fusinski at 7:26 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


matteo writes "all in all, a big win for McCain. and another example of bad journalism for the paper formerly known as an important paper. they should have spiked the story because it's very weak, not because of some phantom form of censorship."

Yeah, I agree. I don't like McCain, but the story is soft, and the tawdriness of the story is unlike what the NYT should be running on their front page. There is no hard angle, which might have saved it otherwise.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:28 AM on February 21, 2008


ND¢ (and, yes, we CAN type your username, we're not all the idiots that you assume in your note in your profile).

What help do you need, with your career in law or your "rap" career? Just curious.

Also, could you please explain why you assume that those of us that are so "world weary" aren't "doing" something to change things? But, if it will make ya feel better, I'll try and get my rap career in gear so that I can feel better about that...
posted by HuronBob at 7:29 AM on February 21, 2008


Methinks Johnny has a type.

Vicki Iseman and Cindy McCain: Separated at Birth?
posted by brain_drain at 7:30 AM on February 21, 2008


until Senators Jesus, Gandhi, and Dalai Lama are running things in DC

Is Barack Obama the Messiah?
posted by lukemeister at 7:31 AM on February 21, 2008


There is nothing mythical about racism.

Of course there isn't. I'm just saying that the racists are already voting for a Republican. They won't be outed by doing so, so why profess to love Obama first and make it obvious?
posted by DU at 7:32 AM on February 21, 2008


DU... I'm not so sure that women, former slaves, and workers are doing all that well.

Women still get paid less, former slaves still account for the majority of the population in our prisons, and workers, well, I guess the workers in China are doing OK, but here in Michigan, things sort of suck in terms of eroding benefits and lost jobs... but, we've always got Walmart... So I guess there's still hope!
posted by HuronBob at 7:33 AM on February 21, 2008


This is awesome news. If he had been bonking an intern, he might have been able to spin it to his advantage, but the fact that it is a lobbyist fucks McCain. The conservative base that will dismiss this as an attack by the media is not strong enough to win this election. His only chance of winning was to convince moderates that his straight laced maverick image was true and this flies right in the face of that.

If it stays alive, and hopefully the sex angle will make it stick, this could be the equivalent of swift boating McCain.
posted by afu at 7:33 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sad. I don't really want the guy to win or anything, but theres something more than a little depressing about this kind of muckraking.
posted by Artw at 7:35 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not so sure that women, former slaves, and workers are doing all that well.

Sweet Jesus.

I guess you are right. I'm only imagining the difference between my comfortable life and a savage starving in a cave. Nothing ever changes. Don't bother to vote.
posted by DU at 7:35 AM on February 21, 2008


I'm curious, HuronBob; why do you bother to read these things? If you really don't care how corrupt our politicians are, why even enter into this thread?

It's gotta suck to be you. I'm worried that we're headed for a huge collapse, even though I think that some of the politicians are less corrupt than others. You, being convinced that all of them are completely corrupt, must be sure of it.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:38 AM on February 21, 2008


Hey, DU, if you wanna believe all is well and pat yourself on the back for the wonderful things we've done for folks here in the good old US of A, you go right ahead..

You're starting to sound a bit like Sean Hannity, I listened to him for an hour the other day, prattling on about how we just gotta be proud of the good old America, how we have to stop talking bad about it.... look what a wonderful place this is... damn, I wanted to get out of the car, and salute to the east while I sang some god awful patriotic country song.....
posted by HuronBob at 7:40 AM on February 21, 2008


Disclosure: I am a lifelong Republican.
Further Disclosure: I would sooner shave my head with a cheese grater than vote for McCain.


Good heavens! What about him rubs you so wrong? Just curious.
posted by hackly_fracture at 7:41 AM on February 21, 2008


The change in our culture will be more organic, it will happen from the bottom up, it will probably not be pleasant.

This country needs an enema! (See HuronBob for more details.)
posted by octobersurprise at 7:42 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


why profess to love Obama first and make it obvious?

Do not discount how polarizing Hillary Clinton is. A lot of Republicans are voting Obama because they loathe her, just as a lot of democrats voted McCain early because they loathed Romney.

Everyone is placing way too much value in these primaries, which is a serious mistake because they produce what, 30% voter turnout? And the democrats have never been more mobilized for a primary.

Things always change when the stakes are raised. The Republicans will mobilize for the General Election, as will racists. I'm not saying that racists are by any means a majority, but to think they have already had their say and that they are contained to the Republican party is ignorant, as we know all too well all it takes is a few votes. This general election is going to be way, way closer than most Democrats would like to think. It seems to me that we are already counting our chickens and this kind of attitude drives me insane. Stay on offense--at least assume these people exist.
posted by fusinski at 7:43 AM on February 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


DU, I think there's a good reason that Obama's book is called The AUDACITY of Hope.

Apathy has become the default political position of many Americans, and it's really hard to battle against it.

Let's just pretend for a moment that he is an incorruptible outsider with a real chance of undoing some of the damage done (to America itself and its image abroad) under Bush... many people are just going to assume that he has some dark motive.

I don't really know what can be done about that, and it's not something that want to be infected with.

I still hope he can win, and that he really can - at the very least - put a stop to the downward spiral.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:47 AM on February 21, 2008


if you wanna believe all is well and pat yourself on the back for the wonderful things we've done for folks here in the good old US of A, you go right ahead..

If any politician is a lying scumbag, they are ALL lying sumbags. If a person is proud of anything in his nation's history, he thinks that nation can (and has) done no wrong.

The problem here is not that you are cynical. The problem here is that you are...unnuanced. To say the least.
posted by DU at 7:48 AM on February 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


Me four the 'bad story' call on the Times. I read the story last night just before retiring and ended up skimming through it in mild puzzlement since there was no big meat in it. The only thing that stood out was that McCain might have proffered special treatment to a lobbyist (the letters), something which we already knew he was capable of from the Keating Five days.

Awakening to the furor and ASAP press conference further confused me; it's sort of like there actually IS more to the story that the Times was constrained from reporting for whatever reason. Whatever, as printed it's pretty weak stuff, and I have a hard time seeing how it could really affect the guy's campaign either way.
posted by mwhybark at 7:54 AM on February 21, 2008


YT LINK - Press Conference
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:58 AM on February 21, 2008


DU,

What you claim as the demonstrable part of the "demonstrable non-issue of skin color" is pretty ephemeral. They're polls and aspirations. Those are a far cry from actually pulling the lever for a black man in this country. On the other hand, there are demonstrable facts regarding racial politics in the US that you are ignoring: Ford in Tenn in 2006, three AA Senators in the past 120 years, years of stuff like the Willie Horton campaign. I'm certainly not suggesting that the US hasn't changed since slavery, or that attitudes haven't changed (George Allen in VA in 2006 certainly got burned by his own racism), but your position, that race doesn't matter, is aspirational rather than factual. You may be right that racists are already voting GOP, but the battle between Obama and McCain will not be over Republican voters, it will be over "independents" and over mobilizing core voters to turn out.

I, too, think that aspirations and hopes are important, and I have high hopes that Obama will be elected. (I also have a lot of reservations, but that's a separate issue.) You haven't presented any reason, aside from your wish that it be so, why your desires here will carry the day.
posted by OmieWise at 7:59 AM on February 21, 2008


What help do you need, with your career in law or your "rap" career?

I don't need any career help, thanks. One is going great, is very lucrative and wins me the respect of my community and the law thing is fine too. What I need from you and all the other people I know that have that "why vote it only encourages them"/"all politicians are crooks" mentality is to just spare me the negativity and defeatism born of an unfamiliarity with history, politics and the real world and how it works. Myself and people like me are trying to do something positive and having fucking Eeyore behind us going "Why bother? Nothing ever changes" doesn't help things. You're doing good things in your community? That's great. Thank you. Don't bust our balls when we try to do something good for our country.
posted by ND¢ at 8:02 AM on February 21, 2008 [9 favorites]


In a way he's lucky there's a suspicion of sex. He'd be in more trouble if he'd been caught taking money. With the sex angle people will be distracted about whether it's anyone's business or not and get distracted from the corruption.

Washington Post story.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:03 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Quote from NPR short:

Responding to a story in The New York Times that questioned his ties to a female lobbyist, Sen. John McCain told reporters at a news conference Thursday that the woman was just a friend. He denied doing anything improper.

that sounds rather familiar...

Can we get back to how this affects McCain's bid for the presidency? And can someone answer me why it seemed, back in 2004, that McCain was rather progressive sounding as compared to how he sounds now?
posted by Sam.Burdick at 8:06 AM on February 21, 2008


Sam.Burdick, I think in the general election candidates try to appeal to the majority, while in the primaries they appeal to their party (but I could be wrong). So he'd be more conservative now.

I don't think this will hurt him at all in the election. But I see Karl Rove in this. McCain's a cowboy, and I think this is a warning shot.
posted by frumious bandersnatch at 8:14 AM on February 21, 2008


And can someone answer me why it seemed, back in 2004, that McCain was rather progressive sounding as compared to how he sounds now?

You do what you have to do to get elected. Republicans != Progressive... He is learning from mistakes he made in 2004.

As for the "that sounds rather familiar" comment, good Christ. Can we stop crucifying people without evidence? I know there are a lot of people out there who are really hoping this is true, but please do try and contain yourselves before the man is proven guilty. Media has completely distorted the notion of justice in this country. Whether he's innocent or not, in some people's minds the dude will already always be guilty.
posted by fusinski at 8:18 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rove eh? Are you sure... I mean, if it were Rove I'd think (based on the painting they get elsewhere) that the NYT would try to put more meat on a tip like this.... if it were from Rove.

As to the primaries/generals... well he was very progressive in the 2004 primaries... and now in these primaries he's not. That's what I'm curious about... I have a theory that someone told him that he'd have to lean farther right if he wanted to make a serious bid this time. And the posturing that he's doing now reflects that...

Well... now that I think about it I could say that perhaps his previous progressive-ness was due to a staffer telling him to be more progressive than Bush in 2004, because that's what people wanted back in 2004. But, it didn't work precisely BECAUSE Bush had rove in '04. Now, he's back to his old idiom. hence "bomb bomb bomb iran".

I may be overthinking this.
posted by Sam.Burdick at 8:19 AM on February 21, 2008


Somebody show me how the political culture in this country hasn't snowballed downhill into further corruption since the moment the last signature dried on the Constitution and I'll reconsider my position.

This is so far from true that you have me convinced you've never actually bother to read any American history.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:20 AM on February 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


McCain didn't run in 2004.

And what was progressive about his 2000 run?
posted by notyou at 8:22 AM on February 21, 2008


fusinski,

I was riffing on comments made by Pres. Clinton during the beginning of the lewinsky days. It may very well be that this lobbyist was a good friend of McCain's and they liked to discuss Kandinsky and Marx together. Who's to say?

But, emotionally, I do like the "turn about is fair play"-ness of all this. This is not to say it's a useful tactic for the Dems to grab hold of. Logically, and idealistically, I sincerely hope that the left media DOES NOT use this to smear McCain. It would just make them look bad. If the right wants to use this they're welcome to it.
posted by Sam.Burdick at 8:23 AM on February 21, 2008


Well, I agree there's no meat, but the Times has a record of capitulating to the White House under its current editorship. But I'm paranoid about Rove's evil genius omnipotence, so take me with a grain of salt.

I also think (and I am overthinking, definitely) that Rove wants McCain to be a sockpuppet if he is going to Prez, like Bush was the past 8 years, and will accomplish this by installing a VP who is the true power. Just like the past 8 years. Word.
posted by frumious bandersnatch at 8:24 AM on February 21, 2008


D'ohh!!! history major I am not... you're right... 2000.

shoddy memory and all maybe I've got it wrong, but his campaign in 2000 seemed more progressive when compared to Bush's of the same era. I recall making that connection back in 2000.

which, to my own mind, would make THAT campaign more progressive than his current one.




though... as previously stated, I could be wrong.
posted by Sam.Burdick at 8:25 AM on February 21, 2008


And I do think Rove is still lurking around. Not that anyone is listening to me.
posted by frumious bandersnatch at 8:27 AM on February 21, 2008


Matthew Yglesias | The Atlantic
"Obviously, I don't know whether or not McCain had sex with Iseman. I suppose by ‘what the meaning of the word 'is' is’ standards, he didn't even deny having had sex with Iseman. Certainly it'd be a bit rich of McCain to get outraged that anyone would even suggest that he might engage in sexual improprieties. After all, it's well known that he repeatedly cheated on his first wife Carol, of a number of years, with a variety of women, before eventually dumping her for a much-younger heiress whose family fortune was able to help finance his political career. That's well known, I should say, except to the electorate, who would probably find that this sort of behavior detracts from McCain's ‘character’ appeal.

Meanwhile, there's all this stuff [McCain senior aide Mark] Salter doesn't deny (because, again, it's true) about McCain's questionable ethics. He wrote ‘letters to government regulators on behalf of the [Iseman's] client,’ he ‘often flew on the corporate jets of business executives seeking his support,’ he resigned as head of a non-profit when ‘news reports disclosed that the group was tapping the same kinds of unlimited corporate contributions he opposed, including those from companies seeking his favor,’ his Senate office and his campaign are run by corporate lobbyists, etc."
posted by ericb at 8:28 AM on February 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


McCain has never been progressive. He has, in the past, been willing to vote against his Republican colleagues. That does not make him progressive in the least.
posted by grouse at 8:30 AM on February 21, 2008


frumious bandersnatch, I see the fat motherfucker Rove on FOX all the time. He's lurking around their studios an awful lot.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:32 AM on February 21, 2008


Mr. Rove Political correspondent? That's not out of the realm of possibility. But, it might mark the end of his political usefulness as a DC insider. god I hope...

I never claimed he was progressive... just more progressive seeming than some. Relatively progressive you might say.
posted by Sam.Burdick at 8:34 AM on February 21, 2008


chuckdarwin, I cannot bring myself to watch FOX, and now I have a new reason not to. I have nightmares starring Karl Rove all the time. He is so evil, he makes Cheney look like a little bunny rabbit.
posted by frumious bandersnatch at 8:36 AM on February 21, 2008


Before he was a political correspondent, he was the mastermind of Bush's campaign. Dude's a genius. Seriously.
posted by frumious bandersnatch at 8:37 AM on February 21, 2008


In the totally unlikely event that McCain drops out at this point Romney (at least) would reenter the race...

I always assumed that possibility was why he "suspended" his campaign rather than dropping out... how old is McCain, anyway?
posted by rokusan at 8:37 AM on February 21, 2008


Sam.Burdick, it's already happened.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:38 AM on February 21, 2008


Come on, frumious bandersnatch! Click it ^^^. Your boy's on.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:39 AM on February 21, 2008


EeeeeVil Genius? Eeevil like the Froo-its of the De-veeel?

Yeah... you're right. But, even geniuses fall back behind. Why doesn't he like McCain? What did McCain do to Rove?

basically, I'm asking how you see Rove in this. (Besides the fact that this smacks of what happened to McCain last time he tried to become president, what with the "black baby" and all).
posted by Sam.Burdick at 8:39 AM on February 21, 2008


chuckdarwin,

ugh... even fox on youtube hurts... the last time I watched any Fox broadcasting was while watching "Out Foxed" at a MoveOn rally.
posted by Sam.Burdick at 8:41 AM on February 21, 2008


I already clicked!!! Damn you, chuckdarwin!!!!
posted by frumious bandersnatch at 8:41 AM on February 21, 2008


My work here is finished.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:43 AM on February 21, 2008


ericb: I had no idea about that stuff. Is Yglesias trustworthy? I don't read him much.
posted by The Bellman at 8:44 AM on February 21, 2008


Sam.Burdick, be careful what you ask for.

I think Rove/Bush wanted Romney. Romney wasn't electable. The NYT article was a warning shot to McCain to reel him into the party -- remind him who is in control. That kind of soft article is not something Keller (the editor) would publish without being strongarmed. (See, I'm paranoid).

McCain is forced to pick Romney or whomever Rove and his ilk want as his running mate and becomes a mascot President, while the VP is the true power and runs things. just like the past 8 years. George Bush cannot even speak in complete sentences, as we all know -- do you think he was the one running the show? I mean, these aren't my ideas here - this is widely speculated.
posted by frumious bandersnatch at 8:45 AM on February 21, 2008


What did Rove do to McCain?

I fixed that for you.

Answer:
Bush's campaign strategists, including Karl Rove, devised a push poll against John McCain. South Carolina voters were asked "Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?". They had no interest in the actual percentages in the poll, the goal was to suggest that he had. This was particularly vicious since McCain was campaigning with his adopted Bangladeshi daughter. The sight of the little dark skinned girl made the seed planted earlier grow and John McCain lost South Carolina, effectively ending his run for the presidency.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:45 AM on February 21, 2008


For those of you that feel that politicians have become MORE honorable, MORE honest, more of anything positive, and I point out: Washington, Adams, Jefferson......... Bush, Clinton, Bush

For those of you that feel that the solution to our problems lies in finding that mythical, wonderful leader to take care of you, heal you, make you whole... good luck, but don't hold your breath...

For those of you that believe that making a change will involve your own sweat, blood, and tears, you have my respect, and my hope lies in you and those like you.

and... ND¢ which is it, being a lawyer or being a rap star that puts you into the "doing good for the community"..? just curious.
posted by HuronBob at 8:47 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


The beautiful thing, for those rooting for Obama, is that Barack hasn't had a chance to do something scandalous. His lack of experience is his biggest asset!
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:49 AM on February 21, 2008


Being a rap superstar is doing good for the community of people who can't get enough of my ill beats.
posted by ND¢ at 8:54 AM on February 21, 2008 [10 favorites]


Well, apart from the coke thing.
posted by Artw at 8:54 AM on February 21, 2008


HuronBob: The epitome of the indifference of good men.
posted by butterstick at 8:56 AM on February 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


I expect more than a Nixonesque non-denial denial from Mr. "Straight Talk Express." I'm looking for more of a Duke of Wellington-style "Publish and be damned!"

McCain's sucking up to Bush after how Rove et al treated him in 2000 made me lost most of my respect for him. Going after his family was too far, even for politics,. and you can't forgive someone for that.

The New York Times also sat on the wiretapping story until after the 2004 election.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:57 AM on February 21, 2008


HuronBob, you're fabricating the straw-man adversaries you want to attack rather than actually listening to people.
posted by brain_drain at 9:03 AM on February 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


ericb: I had no idea about that stuff. Is Yglesias trustworthy? I don't read him much.

He is. It is well known that McCain had an extramarital affair with (now current wife) Cindy, having met her at a reception in Hawaii.
"McCain described their first meeting, 'She was lovely, intelligent and charming, 17 years my junior but poised and confident. I monopolized her attention the entire time, taking care to prevent anyone else from intruding on our conversation. When it came time to leave the party, I persuaded her to join me for drinks at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. By the evening's end, I was in love.'

While still married to Carol, McCain began an adulterous relationship with Cindy. He married Cindy in May 1980 -- just a month after dumping Carol and securing a divorce. The newlyweds honeymooned in Hawaii.

McCain followed his young, millionairess wife back to Arizona where her father helped catapult McCain into politics.'" *
Back when he was running for President in 2000 his first wife, Carol, kept mum on the subject.
Different Hero, Different War
"John McCain's first wife won't say a harsh word about the man who dumped her. Is she a spineless wimp or a quiet hero?"
posted by ericb at 9:04 AM on February 21, 2008


Artw: "Well, apart from the coke thing."

The Times tried to to a muckracking story on that issue but couldn't find much:

Few From Obama’s Youth Remember His Drug Use
posted by octothorpe at 9:08 AM on February 21, 2008


Ummmm...the folder CLEARLY said, "Hold until September 2008."

That's what she said. And seconding that this is a Republican tactic to solidify the base against the big, bad liberal media.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:09 AM on February 21, 2008


The Obama piece octothorpe linked is one of the stupidest I read this election season. The gist of the question posed is "did Obama really use drugs in his youth as much as he claims in his book?" Right, there's nothing a politician likes to do more than to make up stories of past drug use and put them in writing.
posted by brain_drain at 9:15 AM on February 21, 2008


"HuronBob, you're fabricating the straw-man adversaries you want to attack rather than actually listening to people."

It would be wonderful if someone could point me towards those points of shining glory of a working democracy here, or the candidate that will lead us into that bright future, but I just don't see it. Yep, I'm a bit cynical about the "system", no doubt about it.

But, am I not listening to people? Not really.....I'll listen, and I'll let ya'll continue this without me (no, no, please don't beg....!), I have faith that, through this discussion, ya'll will identify that candidate whose reputation is unblemished, whose honor is intact, and whom you can all agree stands to lead our country to greatness. I'll stop back later to see who that might be...

carry on....
posted by HuronBob at 9:23 AM on February 21, 2008


I really feel sorry for McCain. I mean, no matter who his opponent is, he's doomed. And it's not a story you can deduct from the polls; the real story is that in state after state, Democratic voter turnout has been double that for Republicans. So even if polls say McCain beats Hillary, it won't mean shit if that can't get the people to the polls.

As for the scandal, it's to be expected. Every politician has dirt, some a lot more than others. If Huckabee becomes the nominee, you're gonna see a whole lot of new stuff on him.
posted by fungible at 9:23 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


McCain is just trying to prove he is the true heir to the Clinton legacy.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:29 AM on February 21, 2008


This is a digression but I enjoyed this McCain anecdote, even though I would never vote for him:

"On Christmas Eve 1968, a church service for the POWs was staged for photographers and film cameras; McCain defied North Vietnamese instructions to be quiet, speaking out details of his treatment then shouting "F**k you, you son of a bitch!" and giving the finger whenever a camera was pointed at him."
posted by mecran01 at 9:38 AM on February 21, 2008


That's what she said. And seconding that this is a Republican tactic to solidify the base against the big, bad liberal media.

Meh. I like the idea that the GOP would torpedo themselves better. The Liberal Media has always been a boogeyman, so there is nothing to really unite the base against in that regard. They all hate McCain, and their punditocracy would rather reap the benefits of 4 years of liberal oppression than to see him in power. Nothing the Limbaughs of the right like more than victimhood, and they're so deluded that they assume a Democratic president will be another Jimmy Carter.

Can you imagine what Rush's ratings would look like under a President Obama?
posted by butterstick at 9:41 AM on February 21, 2008


Can you imagine what Rush's ratings would look like under a President Obama?

Pasty white and jowly?
posted by DU at 9:45 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


mecran01 - That's kind of cool. If only he had done the same to Bush.
posted by Artw at 10:01 AM on February 21, 2008


The New Republic has just posted its metastory about the New York Times article. Excerpt:
Beyond its revelations, however, what's most remarkable about the article is that it appeared in the paper at all: The new information it reveals focuses on the private matters of the candidate, and relies entirely on the anecdotal evidence of McCain's former staffers to justify the piece--both personal and anecdotal elements unusual in the Gray Lady. The story is filled with awkward journalistic moves--the piece contains a collection of decade-old stories about McCain and Iseman appearing at functions together and concerns voiced by McCain's aides that the Senator shouldn't be seen in public with Iseman--and departs from the Times' usual authoritative voice. At one point, the piece suggestively states: "In 1999 she began showing up so frequently in his offices and at campaign events that staff members took notice. One recalled asking, 'Why is she always around?'" In the absence of concrete, printable proof that McCain and Iseman were an item, the piece delicately steps around purported romance and instead reports on the debate within the McCain campaign about the alleged affair.

What happened? The publication of the article capped three months of intense internal deliberations at the Times over whether to publish the negative piece and its most explosive charge about the affair. It pitted the reporters investigating the story, who believed they had nailed it, against executive editor Bill Keller, who believed they hadn't. It likely cost the paper one investigative reporter, who decided to leave in frustration. And the Times ended up publishing a piece in which the institutional tensions about just what the story should be are palpable.
posted by Kattullus at 10:05 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't think this will happen, but it would be amusing if Huckabee won TX because of this kurfluffle
posted by edgeways at 10:13 AM on February 21, 2008


This has that kind of "waiting for the other shoe to drop" feel. Maybe holding a specific thing as a weapon to a specific denial or the like. Dunno, but sure smells like more to come. If more doesn't come, it is a very poor story to leave out there like that.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:19 AM on February 21, 2008


The Times article is, at best, ponderous and meandering. Perhaps some cliff notes...
posted by VicNebulous at 10:27 AM on February 21, 2008


Barack hasn't had a chance to do something scandalous

I don't know about you, but I've had many chances to do something scandalous and I'm 10 years younger the Barack.
posted by cell divide at 10:28 AM on February 21, 2008


McCain's campaign is reminding me of Bob Dole's. They're both people with long, distinguished careers who I could respect even though their politics are different than mine, but they sold out what made them admirable for a desperate, end-of-career quest for the presidency. McCain may have been a straight-talking maverick in 2000, but those days were gone long before he sucked up to Bush and Jerry Falwell.

how old is McCain, anyway?

He's 71. If he's elected he'd be the oldest president ever.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:35 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


er, and meanwhile McCain's money handling skills, especially his early finances for the race are questionable enough they might end up in court.
posted by edgeways at 10:42 AM on February 21, 2008


In addition, I don't think that his race is a non-issue, I think the US is still a deeply racist country.

But race is as much an issue for white Democratic presidential candidates as it is for black Democratic presidential candidates. Think about Reagan's anti-Carter rhetoric about "welfare queens," Dukakis blindsided by the Willie Horton ads, or Bill Clinton neutralizing the race issue with his "Sister Souljah" tactic. The difference is that, if Obama is the nominee, the race-based appeals will not be this subtle, "code word," dog-whistle shit, but some really ugly, blatant racism. Ironically, I think this can help the Democrats, because there are a lot of well-meaning people who are deaf and blind to institutional/structural racism, but will have major moral qualms with blatant appeals to racism and the N-word. To shrink from this confrontation with the forces of racism in our culture would be a lost opportunity at best and political cowardice at worst.
posted by jonp72 at 10:57 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


He's fucked if this sticks, and it's going to stick, because the far-right media are going to keep hammering at it while there's even a small hope for a Huckabee nomination. Bovine Love mentioned that it feels like we're waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I wonder if this isn't it, and the first shoe wasn't Huckabee's seemingly foolish tenacity and Romney's "suspension" of his campaign. D.C. is a town of open secrets, the Times has had this for months without publishing it, and having the benefit of hindsight, it now appears that the other GOP campaigns have just been waiting for this to come out. I bet they're just disappointed at how much of a soufflé the article ended up being.

The "great" thing about all of this is that the allegations can be completely disproven to the satisfaction of every voting American, and McCain is still fucked, because this is either informing or reminding all of America about his very factual, very proven role in the S & L disaster. So now, as he gears up to fight Obama, every time he tries to build himself up by talking about his "experience," people will associate that experience with the Keating Five. And Obama never has to mention a thing.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:03 AM on February 21, 2008


To shrink from this confrontation with the forces of racism in our culture would be a lost opportunity at best and political cowardice at worst.

Who said anything about shrinking from the confrontation? Other than DU's mythical co-worker?
posted by OmieWise at 11:17 AM on February 21, 2008


Pfft, if you think this matters to the kind of person who would vote for a scumbag like McCain in the first place, you haven't been paying much attention. You think that guy even knows who the Keating Five are? All that guy knows is "OBAMA RHYMES WIT' OSAMA! HIS MIDDLE NAME IS HU-SAYN!" and McCain is tuff on them little brown people. You fergit 9/11? Freedom ain't free!

McCain is dependent on the Shithead Vote. All Obama supporters can hope for is that the Shitheads have decreased in number or they all stay home and watch Dukes of Hazzard reruns because Bush ain't runnin' agin.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:26 AM on February 21, 2008


Really? I know a fair number of people who I'd think of more highly than that who are keen on him.
posted by Artw at 11:30 AM on February 21, 2008


DecemberBoy, I'd say that rather than those types of voters, Sen. McCain is very much depending on "independents" and "moderates" who still, despite ample evidence to the contrary, see him as a gutsy fighter, straight-shooter, and tall-walker.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:40 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Has the Times 'Awoken a Sleeping Giant' with the McCain Story?
“…McCain [has] quickly denied the allegations, of course. But seeking to rally conservatives--who have been reluctant to support the maverick senator--his campaign immediately pivoted to declare war on the Gray Lady itself. ‘It is a shame that The New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit-and-run smear campaign,’ said communications director Jill Hazelbaker in a statement released shortly after the Times story appeared online. On TV, McCain surrogates like Mark McKinnon and Mark Salter have spent the morning repeating that ‘the largest liberal newspaper in America [is] smearing the new conservative Republican nominee’ and dropping talking points like ‘innuendo,’ ‘gossip,’ ‘blind quotes,’ ‘Jayson Blair,’ ‘Judith Miller’ and even--gasp!--the ‘National Enquirer.’ (Seriously. I've heard or read the tabloid's name at least five times already.) The goal: make the case that the behavior of the Times--not the senator--should be the issue and unite McCain with the right wing against a common enemy.

Is it working? So far, so good. Longtime McCain antagonist Rush Limbaugh immediately accused the ‘drive-by media’ of ‘trying to take [McCain] out.’ ‘The story is not the story,’ Limbaugh wrote in an email to the Politico. ‘The media picked the GOP's candidate, the NYT endorsed him while they sat on this story, and is now, with utter predictability, trying to destroy him.’ Laura Ingraham--like Limbaugh, an influential conservative radio host--also implied that the Times' motives were sinister. ‘You wait until it's pretty much beyond a doubt that he's going to be the Republican nominee, and then you let it drop,’ she said this morning. ‘Drop some acid in the pool, contaminate the whole pool. That's what The New York Times thinks.’ David Brody of CBN.com, the website of the Christian broadcasting network, told his massive conservative audience that a Times ‘hit job’ is a ‘badge of honor.’ And Kathryn Jean Lopez at the National Review's Corner blog says she's received a flood of emails from angry conservatives. ‘I'm the typical conservative who has not been happy with the McCain ascendancy, but the NYTimes has accomplished what Tojo did with Pearl Harbor,’ wrote one. ‘They have awoken a sleeping giant. We have been reminded who the real enemy is and it is not Senator McCain. I'm ordering my bumper sticker today.’ Limbaugh, Ingraham and their ilk aren't so much embracing McCain as jumping at another opportunity to bash the liberal media. But the sound and fury are sufficient for now.

That said, I wouldn't bet on the whole ‘McCain finally cements his conservative support’ storyline just yet--or assume that it's the article's most important aftershock. Right now, the media maelstrom is focusing mainly on the journalistic ethics of the Times story, and that redounds to McCain's benefit. But it's only because there's nothing else to report. Yet, that is. Times editor Bill Keller says he's confident in the ‘substance’ of the story; McCain says it's utterly false. A showdown seems inevitable. I'm waiting for the Times (or other news outlets) to put a few more cards on the table before I conclude that McCain has emerged from this scuffle stronger than before, or even unscathed. Conservatives may continue to cry foul. But I get the sense that if any new info emerges, voters positioned to actually swing the election for McCain--independents, centrist Democrats--won't be as eager as Limbaugh to attack ‘the drive-by media.’ Their fury will be focused elsewhere.”
posted by ericb at 11:41 AM on February 21, 2008


All that guy knows is "OBAMA RHYMES WIT' OSAMA! HIS MIDDLE NAME IS HU-SAYN!"

Do you have a scintilla of evidence to back this up?
posted by brain_drain at 11:42 AM on February 21, 2008


I don't care about whether or not he slept with the girl. What I do care about is him having to sleep next to his wife. I get the sneaking suspicion that the woman wants to make a coat out of my dog.
posted by Tullius at 11:42 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ah yes... the Shithead Constituency, long sought after by partisan leaders of all stripes. Their political clout is tempered only by their lethargy and affection for fast cars.

What, no Nascar jokes DecemberBoy?
posted by butterstick at 11:45 AM on February 21, 2008


Wouldn't that be walk-taller? er... er. umm. no

I'm sure McCain would like to woo the moderates and independents. But, its too early to tell how that group will jump. There are a good number of people I'd call independent who seemed to jump on the Ron Paul wagon for various reasons. And an equal number who seem to like Obama.

One chant seems to be "not the usual".

What this news story does to McCain might be, as said before, make him look both youthful AND untrustworthy. Assuming there's an equivalent of The Blue Dress that Blew Clinton that puts his claim to the lie. Or if not, it's all smoke up our butts.

Huckabee could capitalize on this, but I have a feeling that it'll only make him more popular with the people whose votes he's already got a handle on.
posted by Sam.Burdick at 11:45 AM on February 21, 2008


This is bad. It means someone working for McCain, or maybe McCain himself, is a brilliant strategist and knows how to work the media. He just made a move that will cement his support among the more conservative elements in the party.
posted by Tehanu at 11:55 AM on February 21, 2008


Sen. McCain is very much depending on "independents" and "moderates" who still, despite ample evidence to the contrary, see him as a gutsy fighter, straight-shooter, and tall-walker...

So true.

The Economist: Which party can attract the prized independents?
posted by ericb at 11:55 AM on February 21, 2008


I also found Cindy McStraightTalk's ugly attack on Michelle Obama's little slip of the tongue very gross

So did I,but that's nothing compared to O’Reilly’s “Lynching Party” Quote.
posted by homunculus at 12:00 PM on February 21, 2008


This makes me unhappy. If the New York Times were trying to be responsible journalists, they failed. If they were trying to hurt McCain, they failed there too. A bonehead play. And worse, now that the "smear" talking-point has been established, any further evidence of corruption can be easily dismissed.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:13 PM on February 21, 2008


Do you have a scintilla of evidence to back this up?

I've lived in Texas most of my life. I'm currently in Austin, so I am somewhat distanced from the core Shithead constituency, but I know how he thinks. Of course, this all depends on McCain being the Republican nominee. If Huckabee gets it, the Shithead will support him, even though Huckabee appeals more the the ShitHEEL ("We're a-gonna win this nation for Christ! Praise Jaysus!"), there are areas in which the Shithead and Shitheel (it's easy to get them confused) interests overlap, such as crackin' down on the homos. Plus, the Shithead would never vote fer a nigra'.
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:27 PM on February 21, 2008


So, no, you don't. Got it.
posted by brain_drain at 12:32 PM on February 21, 2008


Pfft, if you think this matters to the kind of person who would vote for a scumbag like McCain in the first place, you haven't been paying much attention. You think that guy even knows who the Keating Five are? All that guy knows is "OBAMA RHYMES WIT' OSAMA! HIS MIDDLE NAME IS HU-SAYN!" and McCain is tuff on them little brown people. You fergit 9/11? Freedom ain't free!

McCain is dependent on the Shithead Vote. All Obama supporters can hope for is that the Shitheads have decreased in number or they all stay home and watch Dukes of Hazzard reruns because Bush ain't runnin' agin.


That's really offensive, DecemberBoy.
posted by gyc at 12:38 PM on February 21, 2008


Before I was up to speed on this little scandalette I saw a headline on Reddit, which I unfortunately can't seem to find again, suggesting Obama should come out and denounce this NYT article. First, because a hit piece dredging up nearly 10 year old innuendo about McCain's sex life isn't really the kind of thing most people would think of as fair (how many of you would be denouncing something similar to this if it showed up in the LA times against Obama?), so denouncing it is the right thing to do. But also because it would help inoculate him against even weaker smears down the road, like his acquaintance with Tony Rezko, which is sure to come up again.

By taking the high road now he can set the tone that lame political hit jobs are beneath contempt, and that what we ought to be talking about are issues that are important to Americans like health care, the war in Iraq, and the economy.
posted by Reverend John at 12:44 PM on February 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Limbaugh Spins NYT Story As Hate Radio Victory: McCain Should ‘Understand Who His Friends Are’.
posted by ericb at 12:46 PM on February 21, 2008


If he's elected he'd be the oldest president ever.

Not quite - he'd be the oldest person ever to win election to a first term as president. McCain will be 72 on election day 2008. Reagan was 69 when elected to his first term but 73 when re-elected.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:48 PM on February 21, 2008


So if McCain is elected president let us all hope he doesn't get RE-elected or we'd all have to vote Lich McCain his lord high Undyingness to the throne of the United Satrapies of America.
posted by Sam.Burdick at 12:51 PM on February 21, 2008


Ah, here it is
posted by Reverend John at 1:22 PM on February 21, 2008


A Senator fucking a paid lobbyist is a very big deal. He was sitting in committees she was actively lobbying. If true it's bad bad bad.

This is in no way on the same level of absurdity as Clinton fucking an intern. Which, while somewhat sleazy, does not jeopardize the system.
posted by tkchrist at 1:29 PM on February 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


tkchrist, I get what you're saying there, and unfortunately I haven't read the actual NYT article yet, just various brief synopses on the web or on NPR over the day. However, I get the impression that the suggestion that he was actually fucking her is currently at the level of innuendo at best, and that there isn't much evidence that the people she was representing got any benefit even if he was.

Right now the buzz is pretty much "McCain caught cheating!" rather than "McCain caught selling legislation for favors". The first idea is the one for which Obama should come to McCain's defense. If some substance can be built around the second idea, well that plays well into Obama's calls for change in Washington, but he shouldn't crow about McCain's improprieties without more evidence, and he should definitely distance himself from the prurient aspects of this story.
posted by Reverend John at 1:43 PM on February 21, 2008


All I can hope this leads to is McCain blowing a gasket during a televised debate when his opponent refers to his "being in bed with lobbyists."
posted by jtron at 1:58 PM on February 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


I just watched The American President this past week on the television. I should have seen this coming.
posted by inconsequentialist at 2:03 PM on February 21, 2008


jtron wins.
posted by Bovine Love at 2:05 PM on February 21, 2008


RE: people voting for Obama because they hated Hillary in the Primaries.

Democrats maybe, but there were tons of Republicans that voted Hillary because they want to vote against her in the election.
posted by drezdn at 2:16 PM on February 21, 2008


It had to happen: Iseman and Maverick.
posted by william_boot at 2:18 PM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


OK, I honestly didn't think there was much to this story until McCain's lawyer appeared on MSNBC.

After watching his performance I am convinced that there was a sexual relationship. Don't know the man, but lordy does he come off as a sleazeball.
posted by jtron at 2:23 PM on February 21, 2008


McCain is not a classy fellow. Have you heard this joke he shared with his fellow Republicans?
posted by micropublishery at 2:32 PM on February 21, 2008


Like I said, the focus on sex is distracting people from the corruption.
In late 1999, McCain twice wrote letters to the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of Florida-based Paxson Communications - which had paid Iseman as its lobbyist - urging quick consideration of a proposal to buy a television station license in Pittsburgh. At the time, Paxson's chief executive, Lowell W. "Bud" Paxson, also was a major contributor to McCain's 2000 presidential campaign.
...
McCain wrote the letters after he received more than $20,000 in contributions from Paxson executives and lobbyists. Paxson also lent McCain his company's jet at least four times during 1999 for campaign travel.
dredging up nearly 10 year old innuendo about McCain's sex life isn't really the kind of thing most people would think of as fair

If it were only about sex and he hadn't voted to impeach Clinton I might agree it's unfair, but I'm more concerned about how he responds to it now. A senator from Arizona intervening with the FCC on behalf of a Florida company and major campaign donor doesn't square with "I've never done any favors for anybody -- lobbyist or special-interest group."
posted by kirkaracha at 2:38 PM on February 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


Was McCain warned by his staff about Iseman or not?
“Whether McCain was warned about his interactions with Ms. Iseman is turning out to be a key question in the current scandal. [During] his press conference this morning…McCain said that he was not advised to avoid Iseman -- no one intervened with him about her. And, McCain stated that he did not know that Iseman had likewise been warned by his top politico, John Weaver. McCain's exact words were, ‘I did not know anything about it.’

Yet,...an article…this afternoon by the Washington Post indicates again that both McCain and Iseman were warned....

Why the McCain denial? Was this issue never brought to his attention? Seems like both the Times and the Post have sources who indicate otherwise. McCain was adamant about it. We need the real story.”
posted by ericb at 3:00 PM on February 21, 2008


God, I hope that this doesn't cause McCain to lose the nomination. I vote Democrat, but any possibility of Huckabee becoming President of the United States scares terrifies me. He's a bible-thumping creationist who once advocated setting up quaratine camps for HIV patients. Basically, he's a lot like George W. Bush, only stupider and more bigoted.
posted by emd3737 at 3:00 PM on February 21, 2008


Yet another reason for Obama to be the nominee... how can Hillary press stuff like lobbyist corruption, sex scandals, etc.?
posted by cell divide at 3:03 PM on February 21, 2008


"I've never done any favors for anybody -- lobbyist or special-interest group."

By "favors" I think McCain means "I have never worn a condom or used lube while fucking any lobbyist or special-interest group."
posted by tkchrist at 3:03 PM on February 21, 2008


Oh. And like I said over six months ago, get used to the phrase "President Huckabee."
posted by tkchrist at 3:04 PM on February 21, 2008


He's a bible-thumping creationist who once advocated setting up quaratine camps for HIV patients. Basically, he's a lot like George W. Bush, only stupider and more bigoted.

And more "likable!"
posted by tkchrist at 3:05 PM on February 21, 2008


well, I'd rather Huckabee take the nomination then Romney, just from sheer electability consideration. But, if for some reason (not that it will actually happen) this derails McCain it'll go to a brokered convention and I suspect Romney would be the nomination have no friggen clue what would happen.
posted by edgeways at 3:06 PM on February 21, 2008


edgeways,

maybe this is the jump that Ron Paul has been hoping for...?
posted by Sam.Burdick at 3:08 PM on February 21, 2008


What I really want (if this is all actually true) is McCain to stay in, but lose the next few States at least, and emerge even more vulnerable in the fall.
posted by edgeways at 3:09 PM on February 21, 2008


Alright, that Steve Schmidt android they have spinning for McCain on MSNBC isn't doing him any favors either.
posted by jtron at 3:11 PM on February 21, 2008


Nah, Ron Paul wouldn't win a brokered convention, he doesn't have the political chops, hell the talk is he may well even lose his congressional seat in the election. In a brokered convention I suspect it'll be Romney, or one of the earlier candidates that dropped out, but it is such a free form contest that it could be anybody, even someone who didn't even compete at all in the primaries.
posted by edgeways at 3:13 PM on February 21, 2008


God. No. Huckabee is far more electable than Romney. From the standpoint of the right and mobilizing those kooks in the base. I think that nut has a very good shot.

And if it's Clinton v. Huckabee? It's gonna be Huckabee by a razor thin margin.

There are just too many stupid fucking people who vote by "Well, he is so likable and he's a good Christian".

It's scary alright.
posted by tkchrist at 3:16 PM on February 21, 2008


Like I said, the focus on sex is distracting people from the corruption.

The Washington Post adds a little more detail to the Paxson Communications lobbying.
“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.

McCain has argued that the letters merely urged a decision and did not call for action on Paxson's behalf. This morning, he said he wrote the letters because the issue had languished before the commission for more than twice the usual amount of time.

But when the letters became public, William E. Kennard, chairman of the FCC at the time, denounced them as ‘highly unusual’ coming from McCain, whose committee chairmanship gave him oversight of the agency.

McCain's campaign denied that Iseman or anyone else from her firm or from Paxson ‘discussed with Senator McCain’ the FCC's consideration of the station deal. ‘Neither Ms. Iseman, nor any representative of Paxson and Alcalde and Fay, personally asked Senator McCain to send a letter to the FCC regarding this proceeding,’ the campaign said.

Iseman and her firm, which includes high-profile Republicans and Democrats, have also represented a number of other companies that have had issues before McCain and the commerce committee, including Univision, a Spanish-language television network. Iseman clients have given nearly $85,000 to McCain campaigns since 2000, according to records at the Federal Election Commission.”
posted by ericb at 3:16 PM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


(but I really really really don't think it'll go down that way, even if I want it to for the sheer theater)
posted by edgeways at 3:16 PM on February 21, 2008


whoever wins the middle wins the election

And my read is Huckabee can not win the middle. he would get the right wing, and the hard core xtians, but nearly every single person who voted for Clinton (see, I personally don't buy the mass voting for any candidate so they can vote against them in the fall theory, there is just no credible evidence of it), every single person who voted for Obama, every non Christian, every person who does not want the bible writ to the Constitution would vote against him. McCain has trouble with the conservatives, Huckabee has trouble with the moderates. So, I'll have to respectfully disagree that he is more electable.
posted by edgeways at 3:25 PM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think this is important, reasonably important.
The timing is, of course, suspect.
But this is not as important as his equivocation on torture.
In the past McCain seemed more a viable candidate. But there has been a slow but steady decline that seems to mirror his race for the presidency.

The closer he gets to office the more blurred his principles seem to become.

Although that is seems. And indeed, it is not always the case that every politician has dirt, sometimes the dirt must be manufactured.
posted by HVAC Guerilla at 3:28 PM on February 21, 2008


"The timing is, of course, suspect."

WTF?! What would be the correct timing for a story like this? No matter when it was published, some dolt would complain about the timing. Just because it's such an easy concept to grasp, I guess...
posted by micropublishery at 3:34 PM on February 21, 2008


More on McCain's ties to Paxson:
After a brief period of Democratic dominance, McCain returned to become chairman of the committee in 2003 and 2004. During that period, he took crucial legislative action that saved Paxson Communications from a bill that would have, in the words of CEO Lowell “Bud” Paxson, finally ruined his company.

Even more ironically, McCain took this action for Paxson in spite of his long-standing position that television broadcasters had inappropriately used the transition to digital television (DTV) to benefit themselves financially at the expense of the American public.

McCain initially supported legislation that would have forced Paxson and handful of broadcasters – but not the great bulk of television stations – off the air by December 31, 2006. Bud Paxson himself personally testified about this bill with “fear and trepidation” at a hearing on September 8, 2004.

Two weeks later, McCain had reversed himself. He now supported legislation that would grant two-year reprieve for Paxson – and instead force all broadcasters to stop transmitting analog television by December 31, 2008. Paxson and his lobbyists, including Iseman, were working at this time for just such a change.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:54 PM on February 21, 2008


McCain's gonna be fine. He sure as hell isn't gonna drop out, which is the only way Huckabee's chuckleheaded ass would get anywhere near the presidential nomination, and this isn't much of a story anyway. It's already getting buried on the front page of most news sites; on MSN, it's not even taking precedence over some op-ed puff piece about how Obama voted in the Senate. Right now, people are way more interested in what'll happen with Obama and Clinton. This not especially substantial accusation might have meant something in October or so, but at the moment? It's a fart in a hurricane. This is just the beginning of the attempted swiftboating we're gonna see on both sides, so start getting jaded about it now....
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:58 PM on February 21, 2008


So, I'll have to respectfully disagree that he is more electable.

Between mo-Romney and HICKabee? Nah. Huckabee is more electable for the right. Even the moderates absent McCain.

Between Clinton and Huckabee? It would be very, very close. My gut tells me that Clinton can't deliver the minorities to the poll in the general if she wins over Obama and that would give Huckabee the razor thin margin he would need. Clinton would definitely get the Republican base out and polarize many of the Republican moderates who have had 20 years of anti-Clinton propaganda fed to them where Obama might not.

Between Clinton and McCain? Hmmmm. That's tougher. That would be a coin toss. Niether siede get their base very amped.

Between Obama and McCain? Invert the same formula of Huckabee v. Clinton. I think Obama would get the thin margin on that one.
posted by tkchrist at 4:00 PM on February 21, 2008


So obviously I was wrong above about how Rush et al would play this. I guess I had always figured that the Times was just a nice target for them whenever they wrote something unfavorable about someone they like, and that they would use it for their own purposes when it suited them. I didn't figure that their hatred for it outstripped their hatred of McCain. Live and learn, I guess.

A commenter in the Matthew Yglesias Atlantic article pointed to the impression (which I have as well) that it isn't that the story didn't have any meat, but rather that the meat was "lawyered out" of it. Being a recent immigrant to Washington, one of the most notable things I've come across is the devout code of silence that runs through the place. Sure, you'd expect it from congresspeople and lobbyists, who depend on each other for survival and don't want to burn any bridges, but you also get it from all the bar owners, who want to make sure that politicians can come into their establishments and do whatever they want without fear of reporters, etc. It's a company town, run on an engine greased with corruption, and almost everybody with enough clout to change that is too enmeshed in the system to have any interest in doing so. This isn't news.

A professor back in my undergrad days in New York once brought up the question of Smith & Wolensky's, a famous NY steakhouse. S&W is right in the middle of midtown, and meals there for two or more hover around $300 and up. The grand majority of these meals are paid for with expense accounts, and involve vendors taking customers and potential customers out to lunch, in a legalized form of bribery. As the professor laid it out, if the vendor had the best deal for the customer, the lunch would be unnecessary, and so the lunch must be done in order to illegitimately sway the customer, i.e. bribe them, and so the lunch itself is unethical. Ergo, S&W, which makes it's business on these unethical lunches, is itself unethical. I don't know if that argument holds water, but I do know that Washington is S&W on a roughly 10 mile squared plot of land.

The point is that I think the Times reporters found something damning between McCain and Iseman, but that they couldn't find any sources to meet their standards who'd be willing to go on record. Any career Republican would be crucified by his own party, and any career Democrat would be left to twist in the wind by a party that doesn't want their fingerprints anywhere near this. Ann Coulter might be the only person who could've pulled it off, but she might not have had any personal knowledge of it in 1999, and also she's joked about wanting someone to bomb the Times building, so they might not have her on speed-dial.

This is less than a day old, though, and somebody - someone with nothing to lose and everything to gain just by getting on television - is going to step up to verify the Iseman charges, or just admit that they slept with McCain during the last 24 years. He's got a history of it, and while people can change, I doubt that's the case here. All the Times story did was lay out the fuse. Someone is going to step up in the next day or two to light it, I presume, and then it's going to be all we hear about for a couple weeks.

Which, interestingly, will probably hurt Obama more than anyone. He's had news-cycle after news-cycle all to himself for the last few weeks, and desperately needs them now in order to win Texas or Ohio and cement his nomination. If he can't get heard, that's a much tougher battle.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:06 PM on February 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


On a side note: Is there any male Republican who actually fucks his wife anymore?
posted by fungible at 4:08 PM on February 21, 2008


Is there any male Republican who actually fucks his wife anymore?

Andrew Sullivan?
posted by tkchrist at 4:12 PM on February 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Notice the disarray at the beltline and the flash of white where his boxer shorts are sticking out through his open fly. He humps Bush like a neurotic dog.

He gave it to the Navajo.

Now he wants to give it to everybody.
posted by Huplescat at 4:46 PM on February 21, 2008


F'ing McCain man. I'm with fungible, can't anyone keep their wick dry?
I think politics is for guys who can't get laid by other means. (Hey, y'know, I run, like, the country. 'Oh! Tee hee!')
Meh. I can't talk. I've been really lucky to have the kind of relationship I have with my wife. Maybe that means I'd be a lousy legislator. I feel sorry for McCain. Seems like a stand up guy. Good father, all that. Seems like he deserves to be president. But, like the superbowl man, 'deserves' isn't enough.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:11 PM on February 21, 2008


Finally, a reason for all the ultra-cons to rally behind McCain against the common NY Times enemy.

It will help him enormously.
posted by cogneuro at 3:22 AM on February 22, 2008


"The timing is, of course, suspect."

Yeah, it's as if the NYT wanted to minimize the impact. Any earlier would have affected the primaries and much later would affect the general election. Here it comes neatly in between. ;)
posted by caddis at 7:13 AM on February 22, 2008


By all accounts, the McCain campaign is quite satisfied how the first 24 hours went. Even the timing of the story, if it had to run, was propitious. If the same story had broken during the early primaries, the damage could have been fatal to McCain's presidential quest. Coming out in February means, his campaign staff hopes, by the fall it will all be a dim memory.

McCain Camp Relieved by Its Reaction to Accusations. The remainder of the article is an interesting inside baseball type of thing, except more interesting then actual inside baseball....
posted by Bovine Love at 8:08 AM on February 22, 2008


Yeah, it's as if the NYT wanted to minimize the impact.

Well, they did endorse him while they were sitting on the story.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:18 AM on February 22, 2008


Newsweek: A Hole in McCain’s Defense? -- "Sworn deposition McCain gave in 2002 appears to contradict part of this week's rebuttal to New York Times story."
posted by ericb at 10:47 AM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's not the crime, it's the cover-up. Oops.
posted by grouse at 11:52 AM on February 22, 2008


McCain Torture Endorsement Lost Amid Media Sex Scandal Frenzy
posted by homunculus at 12:34 PM on February 22, 2008


Newsweek: A Hole in McCain’s Defense? -- "Sworn deposition McCain gave in 2002 appears to contradict part of this week's rebuttal to New York Times story."

I read the article and what they quote McCain as saying in the deposition doesn't appear to exactly contradict what his campaign said this week.
posted by gyc at 1:11 PM on February 22, 2008


Deposition contradicts McCain defense of Iseman scandal.

From Newsweek:
Just hours after the Times's story was posted, the McCain campaign issued a point-by-point response that depicted the letters as routine correspondence handled by his staff—and insisted that McCain had never even spoken with anybody from Paxson or Alcalde & Fay about the matter. "No representative of Paxson or Alcalde & Fay personally asked Senator McCain to send a letter to the FCC," the campaign said in a statement e-mailed to reporters.

But that flat claim seems to be contradicted by an impeccable source: McCain himself. "I was contacted by Mr. Paxson on this issue," McCain said in the Sept. 25, 2002, deposition obtained by NEWSWEEK. "He wanted their approval very bad for purposes of his business. I believe that Mr. Paxson had a legitimate complaint."

While McCain said "I don't recall" if he ever directly spoke to the firm's lobbyist about the issue—an apparent reference to Iseman, though she is not named—"I'm sure I spoke to [Paxson]."
Lest anyone say that McCain simply said they didn't discuss a letter, read the rest of the quote that Newsweek left out:
No representative of Paxson or Alcalde and Fay discussed with Senator McCain the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proceeding regarding the transfer of Pittsburgh public television station (WQED) to Cornerstone Broadcasting and Cornerstone Broadcasting’s television station (WPCB) to Paxson. No representative of Paxson or Alcalde and Fay personally asked Senator McCain to send a letter to the FCC regarding this proceeding.
So McCain said this week that he did not discuss the matter with anyone from Iseman's firm. But in 2002 in a sworn deposition he said he did. So, perjury, liar, or just losing his memory?
posted by ericb at 1:25 PM on February 22, 2008


So, perjury, liar, or just losing his memory?

I think for senators there is a special option D) All of the above. And for presidential candidates who are frontrunners, special option E), aka burial in the 24-hour news cycle.

"What? NYT says McCain had an affair? But he says he didn't, and his wife supports him. I guess we'll never know. Hey, did you hear about Hillary's Xerox line, and the satellite?"
posted by Tehanu at 2:01 PM on February 22, 2008


“McCain made a totally unrelated -- and apparently un-newsworthy -- statement to reporters, in which he called for President Bush to veto the Senate's anti-torture bill.”

I dunno Hom, he’s been pretty straightforward on torture. Could be he’s challenging Bush. Not a lot of conservatives are all that pro-Bush right now either.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:12 PM on February 22, 2008


With Friends Like These ... -- "McCain's denial that he had a romantic relationship with a lobbyist was firm, but it invited a game of catch me if you can."
posted by ericb at 10:14 AM on February 24, 2008


Paxson contradicts McCain, says they discussed FCC letters.
posted by ericb at 1:20 PM on February 24, 2008


McCain May Be Screwed
"Bottom line: Either McCain used the promise of public campaign funds as collateral for his loan, in which case he's locked himself into the public campaign finance system (and its strict spending limits) and is massively screwed until September. Or he didn't use potential public funds as collateral, which means he didn't have anything to offer as collateral, which means he received an improper loan. Neither one of those scenarios is very good for the Straight Talk Express."
posted by ericb at 7:12 AM on February 28, 2008


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