Obama wins -- Collegiality!
February 7, 2006 7:36 AM   Subscribe

"I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness." McCain and Obama engage in the Senate equivalent of The Dozens.
posted by empath (138 comments total)
 
"Take it to MetaTalk, senator!"
posted by matteo at 7:38 AM on February 7, 2006


McCain sure has a temper.
posted by caddis at 7:40 AM on February 7, 2006


These letters are such a nice way of saying "F*ck you you SOB."
posted by caddis at 7:41 AM on February 7, 2006


mccain seems to care more about the process than the results ... and his response was pretty rude
posted by pyramid termite at 7:43 AM on February 7, 2006


McCain is too quick to grandstand. I don't think Obama did anything wrong.
posted by js003 at 7:45 AM on February 7, 2006


I just want to say in my own partisan way that mr Obama was a polite and nice man and that mr. McCain is an angry old poopypants.
posted by mk1gti at 7:47 AM on February 7, 2006



Obama's letter
(pdf).
McCain's letter.

I'm all for politicians calling bullshit on gladhanding

posted by dobie at 7:47 AM on February 7, 2006


In all seriousness, it came across to me as if he tried to bully Obama into following his bullshit 'moderate' line that it's a bipartisan issue and Obama wasn't having it. It's McCain that's being disingenuous here. His committe is going to be a pure whitewash and everyone knows it.
posted by empath at 7:48 AM on February 7, 2006


They are both partisans who are out to posture for self-interested reasons. McCain's condemnation of Obama is accurate and damaging, or rather, it would be if McCain wasn't guilty of the much of the same (he really makes it hard to believe that his reform shtick is anything more than his posturing). Either way, I expect more out of Senators than rheortic that could come from Metafilter.
posted by dios at 7:49 AM on February 7, 2006


If John McCain sincerely wanted a bipartisan effort to end corruption, this would have been handled with a private phone call, not a press release.

McCain is already running for president, and he seized this opportunity to slime a potential rival.
posted by Jatayu das at 7:52 AM on February 7, 2006


"This bill, which now has the support of 40 members of the Democratic Caucus, represents a significant step in addressing many of the worst aspects of corruption that have come to light as a result of the Justice Department investigation of Jack Abramoff."

Well, that's where Obama drops his partisan pants. I agree McCain has no right to grandstand given his past but that statement makes it clear that Obama isn't about 'reform' but 'votes'. Nothing new on the Hill.
posted by j.p. Hung at 7:53 AM on February 7, 2006


What I meant by "accurate and damaging" is that it Obama is showing a proclivity to delink his rhetoric from his actions without shame. He took a moderate approach in his speech to the DNC that I thought was excellent and encouraging, but his actions in the Senate haven't been consistent with that rhetoric. He came out and criticized the suggestion that Alito should be filibustered, and then the next day he voted for it. Now here he is suggesting that he is for reforms, but when a group is put together to make meaningful chance, he says he wants to stick with his party's position which has nothing to do with change and everything to do with making a sword to right with in the elections.

So what I was saying was that McCain's criticism has some objective substance and could be damaging, but sometime one wonders about McCain being guilty of much of the same.
posted by dios at 7:55 AM on February 7, 2006


That's truly fascinating - I didn't realize conversations like this took place in writing, and if they did, I'm all the more surprised to see it hosted on the Senator's official site. I kinda agree, McCain is coming off like a hothead here.
posted by jonson at 7:55 AM on February 7, 2006


He came out and criticized the suggestion that Alito should be filibustered, and then the next day he voted for it.

You don't vote 'for' a filibuster. You vote 'against' cloture. Voting against cloture doesn't necessarily equate to a filibuster, unless the ultimate purpose was to kill the nomination. I don't believe that Obama would have participated in a filibuster for the purpose of defeating the nomination, so I don't think your criticism is fair.

This is, btw, why Senators rarely become Presidents.
posted by empath at 8:03 AM on February 7, 2006


I usually like McCain, but my he sure was grumpy that day.
posted by zeoslap at 8:04 AM on February 7, 2006


j.p.Hung: can you elaborate?
posted by uni verse at 8:05 AM on February 7, 2006


Now here he is suggesting that he is for reforms, but when a group is put together to make meaningful chance, he says he wants to stick with his party's position which has nothing to do with change and everything to do with making a sword to fight with in the elections.

One could make the argument that you won't get any real change unless the Democrats win in 2006. I'm not saying I'd accept the argument, but it's certainly a justifiable one. You're posing a false dilemma here.
posted by empath at 8:05 AM on February 7, 2006


Man, McCain's looking a little grumpy here ain't he? I'd say Obama wins due to "not looking like a giant dick" in his letters. And I for one am sick of McCain taking these giant noble stands on important issues that he lets turn to shit as soon as people stop paying attention. So good show for calling him on it Barack.

As an aside, I'm going to see McCain on Letterman on Thursday. Wonder if this'll get any play
posted by slapshot57 at 8:06 AM on February 7, 2006


It's interesting seeing this from McCain given that I'm currently reading the David Foster Wallace essay/campaign story "Up Simba" from his book Consider The Lobster about McCain's 2000 presidential campain. Although he wants to be cynical, you can tell that DFW is at least a little starry-eyed about McCain during that time, as were a lot of other people. Heck, I'd consider myself a lefty, but waaaay back in the day, I even thought that McCain was a breath of fresh air on the political landscape and was briefly bummed to see him taken out by the sandbagging that the Shrub layed on him.

Now, I just see him as another opportunistic, glad-handing panderer that shifts in the wind however it suits him best. Odd what 5 years can do to a person.

In regards to Obama, he's still young. I like him a lot, but time will tell.
posted by almostcool at 8:12 AM on February 7, 2006


Well, that's where Obama drops his partisan pants. I agree McCain has no right to grandstand given his past but that statement makes it clear that Obama isn't about 'reform' but 'votes'. Nothing new on the Hill.

Nothing new at all.
posted by three blind mice at 8:13 AM on February 7, 2006


I would like to see what McCain would post on his website. I mean, given that the letters are posted on Obama's site, well, OK, where's the other half of the story?
posted by schroedinger at 8:14 AM on February 7, 2006


Dear Senator McCain:

Please stop being such a

.

Sincerely,

Me
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:14 AM on February 7, 2006


Schroedinger: McCain didn't have the courtesy of posting Obama's response, so I didn't link to his site. But he published the letters first.
posted by empath at 8:18 AM on February 7, 2006


The Democrats put forth legislation (S.2180). Why not put it before committee and weigh it on it's worth (or possible lackthereof)? Why the need for a "task force"? If John McCain wants to pick up some brownie points, let him cosponsor a bill and grandstand next year when he announces his candidacy for president.
posted by clearlynuts at 8:20 AM on February 7, 2006


Fuck McCain. That guy, like many of the Democrats, has rolled over for King George one too many times to be anything but, as our almostcool so succinctly puts it, a "opportunistic, glad-handing panderer".
posted by 40 Watt at 8:20 AM on February 7, 2006


I would like to see what McCain would post on his website....where's the other half of the story?

Huh? Did you even look at McCain's site? He's already made his decision about how much of the story to tell. Anyway, the key issue in this exchange is Obama's claim that he made his position clear in his meeting with McCain:

Last Wednesday morning, you called to invite me to your meeting that afternoon. I changed my schedule so I could attend the meeting. Afterwards, you thanked me several times for attending the meeting, and we left pledging to work together. As you will recall, I told everyone present at the meeting that my caucus insisted that the consideration of any ethics reform proposal go through the regular committee process. You didn't indicate any opposition to this position at the time...

If that's true, then McCain is outright lying here.
posted by mediareport at 8:26 AM on February 7, 2006


If John McCain sincerely wanted a bipartisan effort to end corruption, this would have been handled with a private phone call, not a press release.

Yeah, I don't understand this stuff either. Just this morning I got a very impolitic email from an associate. All I'd need to do in order to cause some serious damage is just forward it to the right people. Some people just keep asking for the rope to hang themselves with...
posted by mkultra at 8:26 AM on February 7, 2006


Yep, this guy is going to hold Bush's and Abramoff's feet to the fire over lobbyist influence. I can't understand why Obama wouldn't want to play along and provide them with bipartisan cover.
posted by Gamblor at 8:27 AM on February 7, 2006


Yep, this guy is going to hold Bush's and Abramoff's feet to the fire over lobbyist influence.

And you make McCain's point for him. The issue he is proposing is reform, and trying to get serious reform. McCain is pointing out that Obama instead is going with the view that the goal should be to "hold Bush's and Abramoff's feet to the fire over lobbyist influence" and use it an electoral issue instead of actual reform.
posted by dios at 8:32 AM on February 7, 2006


Isn't it obvious that McCain is simply really touchy about people trying to make his party look bad? It seems to me that he sincerely does want these reforms, but does not want the reforms to be used as ammo to be used against his party.

And naturally, Obama wants to do that.
posted by brygo at 8:32 AM on February 7, 2006


McCain is pointing out that Obama instead is going with the view that the goal should be to "hold Bush's and Abramoff's feet to the fire over lobbyist influence" and use it an electoral issue instead of actual reform.

Once again: It's not an 'instead of' proposition.
posted by empath at 8:34 AM on February 7, 2006


Fuck McCain.

Yeah but he really put baseball's collective dick through the ringer, so bully for him!
posted by spicynuts at 8:36 AM on February 7, 2006


I agree with dios here. Sure, Obama's intentions are probably every bit as partisan as McCain's, but, wow, McCain's letter sure casts him in an unflattering light. Unfortunately, I suspect McCain's supporters like the Give-em-hell-and-screw-the-consequences posturing.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:37 AM on February 7, 2006


CRS summary of S.2180:
Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2006 - Extends from one to two years the ban on former senior and very senior executive personnel, former Members of Congress, and officers and employees of the legislative branch from making lobbying contacts with any officer or employee of the entity in which such person served before his or her tenure terminated.

Eliminates floor privileges for a former Senator or Senator-elect who is a registered lobbyist.

Requires public disclosure by Members of Congress and senior congressional staff of employment negotiations.

Subjects to fines and penalties a Member of Congress or a congressional employee who wrongfully influences, on a partisan basis, an entity's employment decisions or practices.

Amends the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (LDA) to require: (1) quarterly instead of semiannual filing of lobbying disclosures reports; (2) electronic filing; (3) disclosure of registered lobbyist contributions and payments; (4) disclosure of paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying; (5) disclosure by registered lobbyists of all past executive and congressional employment; and (6) maintenance of certain lobbying disclosure information in an electronic data base, available to the public free of charge over the Internet.

Amends the Standing Rules of the Senate to: (1) exclude gifts from lobbyists from the gift ban exceptions; and (2) prohibit privately funded travel by a Member, officer, or employee.

Prohibits such individuals from accepting transportation or lodging on trips sponsored by non-profit organizations that are planned, organized, requested, arranged, or financed in whole or in part by a lobbyist or foreign agent, or in which a lobbyist participates.

Requires a Member, officer, or employee of the Senate to disclose certain information regarding noncommercial air travel.

Requires the Committee on Rules and Administration to develop and revise guidelines on reasonable expenses or expenditures for official government travel.

Establishes the Senate Office of Public Integrity.

Amends the LDA to increase the penalty for failure to comply with lobbying disclosure requirements.

Requires certification that congressional travel meets certain conditions. Establishes civil fines for false certifications.

Establishes mandatory annual ethics training for congressional employees.

Amends the Standing Rules to require: (1) actual voting in a conference committee meeting on the full text of the proposed conference report; and (2) availability of such report on the Internet for at least 24 hours before its consideration.
Current status:
1/20/2006:
Read twice and referred, under authority of the order of the Senate of Jan. 18, 2006, to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. (text of measure as introduced: CR 1/24/2006 S20-23)

1/25/2006:
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Hearings held.
More info on the HSGAC, including details of the hearing held on 1/25/2006, at which McCain testified.
posted by edverb at 8:37 AM on February 7, 2006


McCain is pointing out that Obama instead is going with the view that the goal should be to "hold Bush's and Abramoff's feet to the fire over lobbyist influence"

That's one goal, and I'm sure you'll agree that it's a perfectly appropriate one, since the Abramoff mess is a purely Republican scandal.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:41 AM on February 7, 2006


Establishes the Senate Office of Public Integrity.

Gee...another expansion of government. This is something I'm sure the Republicans can get behind.
posted by j.p. Hung at 8:41 AM on February 7, 2006


...use it an electoral issue instead of actual reform.

The current crop of Republicans in the senate (and the White House) have shown time and time again that they're not interested in reform, they're only interested in covering their own asses, and preserving their own power. For further examples, see the 9/11 commission, the Plame leak investigation, etc.

McCain is just pissed that Obama isn't jumping through hoops to help him put on his "serious reformer" face for the general public.
posted by Gamblor at 8:44 AM on February 7, 2006


McCain might once have been a maverick independent, but sadly, somehow, G.W. has broken him into a just another mule.

I have really lost all respect for him.
posted by JWright at 8:45 AM on February 7, 2006


Establishes the Senate Office of Public Integrity

Well, thankfully there's now a check & balance to the Department Of Corruption, Bribery, And Incompetence.
posted by mkultra at 8:52 AM on February 7, 2006


It seems to me that he sincerely does want these reforms, but does not want the reforms to be used as ammo to be used against his party.

Then he doesn't really want the reforms.
posted by papakwanz at 8:57 AM on February 7, 2006


2004

2000

McCain and his senior staffers resent the campaign Bush waged -- the attacks by Bush surrogates on his personal life and his wife Cindy's past addiction to pain killers, and the racist allusions to his adopted 8-year-old daughter Bridget, who is from Bangladesh.
They think Bush conducted himself dishonorably time and again, refusing to call off attacks; allowing (at the very least) close allies to wage misleading ad attacks slamming him as an anti-environmentalist and painting him as being indifferent to breast cancer; and making callous remarks after learning McCain's sister is herself a breast cancer survivor. McCain aides feel strongly that history will judge Bush's campaign as one of the nastiest and ugliest ever waged.


Self-interested partisan posturing? John, you're the King.
posted by Otis at 9:06 AM on February 7, 2006


Either way, I expect more out of Senators than rheortic that could come from Metafilter.

Really? I expect a lot less. There are some really bright, cool people here, ya know.
posted by beth at 9:14 AM on February 7, 2006


more honesty in senators!

but maybe directed at people who deserve these accusations more.

Maybe a letter saying,

"Vice President Cheney,

I had previously considered you to be a man with blood pumping through your veins and a regular heart beating in your chest. It saddens me to discover that you are instead a nebulous menace from the void in the guise of a man with nothing but black viscous ichor running in your veins and a shriveled piece of malignant evil where you should have a heart. But I must thank you for having disabused me of my misapprehension the other day, when you said "Actually, I'm rather fond of the idea of setting fire to iraqi children."

Sincerely,

John McCain
posted by shmegegge at 9:16 AM on February 7, 2006


Gee...another expansion of government. This is something I'm sure the Republicans can get behind.

Hey, they're welcome to take that tactic... naked hypocrisy plays poorly in elections. I can see the attack ads now.
(Announcer voice): The Republican culture of corruption is at it again.

After being caught red-handed taking bribes (flash pic of Duke Cunningham), after their majority leader had to step down after being accused of money laundering (flash pic of Tom Delay smoking Cuban cigar), after multiple Republican officeholders were caught taking money from corrupt Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff (flash pic of Abramoff in black fedora outside courthouse) the so-called "Party of Personal Responsibility" now opposes Public Integrity.

They say it would "expand government". This is hypocrisy.

(Text zooming on screen....)

Republicans have added new cabinet level departments, costing hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.

Republicans have added TRILLION DOLLAR new entitlements and misled the American people about the costs.

(with added emphasis) Republicans have increased the size of government by over 20% EVERY YEAR since 2000.

(show chart)In fact, Republicans have nearly doubled the national debt in five years, eclipsing the debt incurred by ALL previous administrations combined...debt that you, your children and grandchildren will have to repay...(put text "REPUBLICAN BIRTH TAX" in bold letters onscreen)

And yet, with their leaders under indictment, they NOW oppose the Senate Office of Public Integrity because it "would increase the size of government".

Hypocritical Republicans are mired in bribery and dirty money laundering scandals. Is it any wonder the only kind of government they oppose is ETHICAL GOVERNMENT?

(draw the word "ETHICS" onscreen, draw red circle and slash line thru it)

This November, vote for change. Put these corrupt bums where they belong...IN JAIL! (prison cell door clangs shut)

This message paid for Citizens for Public Integrity and Ethics (fade to black)
Obama is right to want to conduct this corruption reform by the ordinary committee process, for this precise reason. One party (the guilty party in this case) is allergic to public debate. Damn skippy we need to do this by the book.
posted by edverb at 9:28 AM on February 7, 2006


McCain is an embarassment to the state of Arizona; it's just that nobody knows it yet.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:29 AM on February 7, 2006


McCain is such a fraud , they don't even taste like real chips.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:29 AM on February 7, 2006


I'm always amazed at the ability of the republican spin machine to shaoe the debate. The Abramoff scandal isn't about the need for lobbying reform, it's about the need for republiucan lawmakers to stop breaking the law. What's needed is for the offending lawmakers to be voted out, new laws aren't going to change anything.
posted by afu at 9:34 AM on February 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


The dates on the letters are interesting. McCain takes 4 days to respond to Obama's letter and when he does it appears that he has been informed by more than just Obama's letter. THAT is the part of the story that may be missing. Obama reacts to McCains letter with some speed (same date on both letters) and then posts all three letters on his site (to provide at least some context). McCain posts only his letter to Obama.

In any event, it's a story now!
posted by spock at 9:34 AM on February 7, 2006


I used to really like McCain. He justly went on a tirade against the Swift Boating of Kerry. But then in July 2004 he went and stood on the podium next to Bush squeezing out that bloated grin and greedily feltched Bush's oozing trust-funded ass like everyother happy GOP toady. Disgusting.
posted by tkchrist at 9:52 AM on February 7, 2006


What's with the letters? The dude works down the hall. Stop by and argue like normal people.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 9:54 AM on February 7, 2006


I have really lost all respect for [McCain].
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:56 AM on February 7, 2006


If John McCain writes a letter, next year, he can say he tried his best and have written proof. If Barrack Obama writes a litter, next year, he can say that he politely declined the Honorable Mr. McCain's request. If either one walks down the hall and argues, then they can't whip out proof of what was said.

Bonus: Two years from now, when John McCain is shilling his bipartisan unity crap, there's proof that he's a bulldog who's idea of being bipartisan is huffing and puffing when he doesn't get his way.
posted by clearlynuts at 9:59 AM on February 7, 2006


They're both tools.
posted by delmoi at 10:08 AM on February 7, 2006


...since the Abramoff mess is a purely Republican scandal.

It's a Congressional scandal Armitage_Shanks. It is only because the Republicans are the ones in a position to bribe that it is a "Republican" scandal.

I loathe everything about Republicans, but that does make the Democrats any better. The scandal is a campaign finance system that amounts to nothing less than legalized bribery.

When Obama scores his cheap points at Republican expense, he makes it a political scandal, instead of an institutional scandal.

Obama is more of the same: a partisan hack. McCain - quite a hack himself - gave him a spanking he deserved.
posted by three blind mice at 10:14 AM on February 7, 2006


...the Abramoff mess is a purely Republican scandal.

Shanks, not sure if you're being saracastic or not, but Harry Reid has about 60,000 reasons to disagree with that assertion.
posted by mikewas at 10:14 AM on February 7, 2006


You ladies wanna take this outside? We're trying to have a government here.
posted by Eideteker at 10:16 AM on February 7, 2006


Good for Obama. The shit sandwich that is the K Street Project, Abramoff's lobbying machine, Duke Cunningham's yachts, murdered shady casino owners in Florida, etc., is a wholly Republican phenomenon--Democrats shouldn't take the bait.

I almost feel bad for McCain--he really seems to think he can somehow disassociate the Republican party from the fundamentalists before 2008 (more practically, mid 2006 when the campaign really begins). He bent over for Bush in 2003, playing the good soldier, but he'll be left holding the bag soon. We've all seen how Rove and co. like to treat actual, live veterans who've done things like, actually serve and win medals for America. G'night John.
posted by bardic at 10:23 AM on February 7, 2006


It is only because the Republicans are the ones in a position to bribe that it is a "Republican" scandal.

And part of a reason that the Republicans are in a position to be bribed is because of the K Street Project and its ability to funnel industry money into their machine put them into power. It's kind of like a perpetual motion machine of sin and venality. Nice work!

So are you saying in all seriousness that this is also a Socialist issue, a Libertarian issue, a Neo-nazi issue - the only difference being that those parties don't have enough influence or seats to be worth bribing?

Nah - all of the principles in this matter have a nice capital R after their names. The Republicans worked so hard to bring politics to it's current state and to the victor go the spoils.
posted by rks404 at 10:25 AM on February 7, 2006


And part of a reason that the Republicans are in a position to be bribed is because of the K Street Project and its ability to funnel industry money into their machine put them into power.

Well, that and the fact that the Democrats could not find a winning campaign theme with a map and detailed instructions in crayon.

So are you saying in all seriousness that this is also a Socialist issue, a Libertarian issue, a Neo-nazi issue - the only difference being that those parties don't have enough influence or seats to be worth bribing?

Absolutely. It is an institutional problem rks404.

And while we voters divide ourselves along partisan lines, the corporations own our government.
posted by three blind mice at 10:30 AM on February 7, 2006


Though I agree this is an systemic problem, I don't think what Repubs have done over the past few years with positioning other Repubs in as many lobby positions as they can and keeping Dems out of those positions can be so easily dismissed. It has been a well-orchestrated campaign. Regardless, the Abramoff scandal is a purely Repub problem and having the Repubs control the agenda for reform seems just a bit too convenient.
posted by effwerd at 10:48 AM on February 7, 2006


It is an institutional problem rks404.
I agree with that. The problem is that to clean up the institution we need to punish the bad actors - the pigs at the top of the shitpile. That would be the K Street project and the DeLay machine and other inmates running the asylum. Speading the blame to every participant, no matter how out of the loop, only serves as political cover for the ne'er-do-wells who rose to the top and helped to worsen an already bad situation.

And as effword points out - why should the guys at the top of the shitpile lead reform? Sorry - doesn't resonate with this voter.

But getting back to the topic of the thread - I've always been impressed by McCain but have been steadily less and less impressed since 2000. He always struck me as an honorable man who could be trusted to do the right thing, but after he got slimed by the Rove team as being a crazy PTSTD Vietnam vet and then the illegitimate father of a black baby, I have to admit I wanted to see him take the bull by the horns and deal with the Rove machine in public. But he didn't and just simpered and was glad to shake hands with Big Daddy Bush at public appearances and my initial impression of him sort of dissipated. I guess it's just the way that things work in politics.

But now to see McCain roaring and huffing about Barack Obama's perfidy - eh - there was a time for McCain to be a raging bull and that time has passed.
posted by rks404 at 10:52 AM on February 7, 2006


Also, what would McCain expect from Obama? He is as junior a senator as you can get and he has made it pretty clear he is going to do what his leaders ask of him. Even if he were completely sincere in his face to face discussions with McCain, that only demonstrates what he would like. When it comes to official discourse, he will likely use the language he is advised to use. Everybody is saying the Dems need to create a united front against the Repubs and that's what he's going along with. I think McCain is rather disingenuous in calling him out on this. Nonetheless, it's a well-crafted piece of irony.
posted by effwerd at 10:59 AM on February 7, 2006


Self-interested partisan posturing? John, you're the King.

Yeah, Otis, but then he stood by Bush and supported him in front of the cameras. If that isn't self-interested partisan posturing, esp. in light of what Bush's folks had done to him, then I don' tknow what is.

Which is all a shame. I've met the man, I like the man as a person...but I'll tell you, that letter in response wasn't smart. I mean, let's assume for the sake of this comment that Obama did present (in his first letter) something as agreed upon by all parties even though it hadn't been -- if so, a much better response would have been to ask innocently about how that jibed with [insert Obama's words from the meeting here], which contradict his letter, and [insert description of McCain's pushback in the meeting] that doesn't match the description in Obama's letter?

Then again, as mentioned earlier in this thread, perhaps his constituents prefer grumpy and impolite to patient and measured. If so, I guess you can't blame him...much.
posted by davejay at 11:03 AM on February 7, 2006


Along with effwerd's intelligent comments, I'd add this to the mix: Who's using who here? Obama is young, charismatic, and dare I say it, black--I have no doubt McCain wants to see some real reform, but he wants the Senate's equivalent of a rockstar to help him out with it. Yes, it's politics all around, but I'll take Obama's predictable, party-line stand over McCain's mock indignation any day.
posted by bardic at 11:24 AM on February 7, 2006


When Obama scores his cheap points at Republican expense

Total misrepresentation.

By recommending that the issue be handled in committee, by the book, and taking a pass on a "bipartisan" commission which includes all Republicans and two token Dems (Lieberman and Nelson)...that's considered "scoring cheap points"? How so?

There's legislation in committee which addresses the corruption concerns...Obama has signed on as a co-sponsor. He told McCain that's the route he wanted to take. There's nothing "cheap" about co-sponsoring legislation and standing by it.

It's hardly a surprise, or a ploy. It's the way Senate business is conducted. The ploy, if any, is McCain trying to hijack the issue to escape the taint of his own party's corruption, and feigning outrage whern Obama sticks to the legislation he's co-sponsored as a remedy.
posted by edverb at 11:40 AM on February 7, 2006


Yeah, Otis, but then he stood by Bush and supported him in front of the cameras. If that isn't self-interested partisan posturing, esp. in light of what Bush's folks had done to him, then I don' tknow what is.

davejay, I must have poorly framed my post because that is exactly what I was trying to point out. Maybe you didn't click on my "2004" link.
posted by Otis at 11:41 AM on February 7, 2006


It's a Congressional scandal Armitage_Shanks. It is only because the Republicans are the ones in a position to bribe that it is a "Republican" scandal.

I loathe everything about Republicans, but that does make the Democrats any better. The scandal is a campaign finance system that amounts to nothing less than legalized bribery.
posted by three blind mice


Legalized bribery is a bipartisan scandal, but it is not what Abramoff was all about. The Abramoff scandal is about breaking the law. Abramoff is a Republican, and all of his crimes were committed for the benefit of the Republican party. He was part of the K Street Project, whose goal was to eliminate the ability of Democrats to lobby Congress. There is nothing bipartisan about Abramoff.

Shanks, not sure if you're being saracastic or not, but Harry Reid has about 60,000 reasons to disagree with that assertion.
posted by mikewas


No he doesn't. He got that money not from Abramoff, but from Abramoff "and associates". And those "associates" aren't the associates involved in the bribery and money laundering, but his clients - people who were the victims of Abramoff's crimes.
posted by Happy Monkey at 11:53 AM on February 7, 2006


Senator McCain,

How does it feel to have Duyba's henchmen slander you and your family during the 2000 campaign, get the old sausage put up your butt without the KY jelly repeatedly, and then have to kiss his ass in public for the next 6 years?
Just wondering.

Sincerely,
nofundy
posted by nofundy at 11:58 AM on February 7, 2006


I used to like McCain a lot. But as many have pointed out on this thread, he talks big and bad about being above petty politics but when the White House snaps its fingers, McCain puts on his collar and tows the party line just like all the rest. Hell, the guy voted against making it illegal to focefully prevent people from entering abortion clinics. So as McCain would have it, abortions are legal, but if protesters block the doorway and prevent you from entering that's your own damned problem? Above politics my ass, the guy does his independent thing to exactly the length of the leash that W gives him, and that's a real shame. Hopefully he does all this to win a presidential election and then actually live up to this big talk without someone like W snapping his fingers, but I'm less and less hopeful.
posted by Farengast at 12:11 PM on February 7, 2006


Legalized bribery is a bipartisan scandal, but it is not what Abramoff was all about. The Abramoff scandal is about breaking the law. Abramoff is a Republican, and all of his crimes were committed for the benefit of the Republican party. He was part of the K Street Project, whose goal was to eliminate the ability of Democrats to lobby Congress. There is nothing bipartisan about Abramoff.

And there is nothing particularly Republican about Abramoff. If the Dems were the ones handling out the earmarks, there would have been a Q street project to eliminate the ability of Republicans to lobby congress.

Don't you get it? The corporations don't care who is in power as long as they provide access to the Treasury.

He got that money not from Abramoff, but from Abramoff "and associates". And those "associates" aren't the associates involved in the bribery and money laundering, but his clients - people who were the victims of Abramoff's crimes.

Don't bogart that joint, Happy Monkey, pass it over to me.
posted by three blind mice at 12:14 PM on February 7, 2006


threee blind mice, your name is accurate. Yes the Dems are capable of corruption, but the K Street Project was a qualitative jump--it was an attempt to engineer lobbying in DC so that it was a wholly Republican-controlled effort. Don't let your distaste for corporations obscure the fact that one party is bad, the other is worse.
posted by bardic at 12:19 PM on February 7, 2006


*three* sorry
posted by bardic at 12:20 PM on February 7, 2006


And there is nothing particularly Republican about Abramoff.

Riiiight. Nothing particularly Republican about Tom Delay either, right?

The "tu quoque" thing is pretty weak with only your conjecture and blind assertions to back it up. I don't suffer any delusions that a particular letter after one's name makes them magically ethical or not, but your argument on is outright ridiculous. There is nothing which is NOT Republican about Abramoff.

And the fact is...the K Street project (unlike your fictional Q street invention) IS a GOP program, and Republicans DID take dirty money. Abramoff's gaming clients DID sharply reduce their donations to Democrats after taking on Abramoff as their lobbyist.

Don't project what COULD be and give it equal weight to what IS. There is nothing bipartisan about this scandal, and it's ridiculous to tar everyone with the same brush. It's factually dishonest and intellectually lazy.

Everyone named in this scandal...Ralph Reed, Grover Noriquist, David Safavian, Jack Abramoff, Tom Delay, Bob Noe, Adam Kidan, Michael Scanlon, on and on...all have ONE particular letter after their names. It ain't "D".
posted by edverb at 12:27 PM on February 7, 2006


Huh. The "Abramoff is a bipartisan scandal" spin has been much more successful than I realized.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:29 PM on February 7, 2006


Huh. The "Abramoff is a bipartisan scandal" spin has been much more successful than I realized.

Note Exhibit A.
posted by Farengast at 12:33 PM on February 7, 2006


edverb, are you suggesting that Democrats have been perfectly pure and clean in all of their fund-raising issues? Are you suggesting that it is completely implausible to say they are likely guilty of things similar to Republicans?

My guess is that you wouldn't say that.

So the question then becomes, how hard do you sell Abramnoff as the most corrupt thing ever if there is clear evidence that Democrats took money as well from him, and Democrats aren't pure as snow on this issue? That is, even though it is clear that Republicans deserve much more criticism for their behavior vis-a-vis Abramnoff, is you argument that Democrats are innocent or "just not as guilty"?

"We aren't as bad as those guys" seems kind of like a tenuous position to run with.

Seems more reasonable to me suggest that both sides are permitting too much outside influence and exposing themselves to potential corruption. I don't see how you are going to sell the story that it is only a Republican problem--not systemwide--because of the fact that the one exposed was largely Republican unless you are going to argue that Democrats were perfectly innocent.

And I think that is McCain's point. The goal should be reform of the whole system. The goal shouldn't be to argue over who is worse, because the whole system is corrupted.
posted by dios at 12:36 PM on February 7, 2006


edverb, are you suggesting that Democrats have been perfectly pure and clean in all of their fund-raising issues? Are you suggesting that it is completely implausible to say they are likely guilty of things similar to Republicans?

Did I not just say "I don't suffer any delusions that a particular letter after one's name makes them magically ethical or not"?

My guess is that you wouldn't say that.

No need to guess. Simply read.

So the question then becomes, how hard do you sell Abramnoff as the most corrupt thing ever if there is clear evidence that Democrats took money as well from him

Democrats did not take money from Abramoff.

Seems more reasonable to me suggest that both sides are permitting too much outside influence and exposing themselves to potential corruption.

I see...after being in charge since 1994....after twelve years of operating under this system NOW there are real GOP backed efforts at "bipartisan reform"....after their slush fund is busted and exposed, and it's prime players under indictment.

Pardon me for being skeptical at the sudden urgency for the "bipartisan reform" fig leaf. In my experience, there is ZERO interest on the GOP side for bipartisan anything, ever.
posted by edverb at 12:44 PM on February 7, 2006


dios, your strawmen are tired. Nobody here is defending the moral purity of Democrats, just stating the obvious--the K Street Project and what has grown out of it is an inherently Republican scandal. As I've said before, I'd be more than happy to see a few Democrats get burned by it as well--on the whole, you'll find it's a blip on their party's radar compared to the Duke Cunninghams, Ralph Reeds, and Tom DeLays, etc., of the world.

As for clear evidence? Please cite some--Democrats took money from Indian groups linked to Abramoff, not from the man himself. As a lawyer, you should understand the diffrence.

Eegads, another strawman in your fourth paragraph--no one is saying Congress doesn't need reform, just that it should come through existing channels (this is Obama's position). McCain is calling for something where only two Democrats (Lieberman and Nelson, who IMHO are both pretty far to the right of their respective party) would have a voice. There are measures in place to clean things up, but the Republicans have been tinkering with them like mad to shore up support for indicted reps like Delay.

Please read a thread before you attempt to contribute to it. And remember that spellcheck is your friend.
posted by bardic at 12:46 PM on February 7, 2006


edverb, are you suggesting that Democrats have been perfectly pure and clean in all of their fund-raising issues? Are you suggesting that it is completely implausible to say they are likely guilty of things similar to Republicans?

My guess is that you wouldn't say that.


Then what's your point, Dios? You set up a ridiculous false dichotomy, then you point out that it's ridiculous and that the reality is much more complex, then you attack someone who speaks of this reality because it's a reality that isn't going to gain them much. I don't get what you are trying to argue here. Nobody here pointing out that K Street is a purely Republican construction is trying to say that Dems are angels OR trying to earn points by pointing it out. What I see is a bunch of people saying that Abramhoff is a bipartisan scandal (it's not), and a bunch of people exclaiming that there is bipartisan ethical lapses in the culture of congress which leads to things like the entirely Republican K Street scandal.

Obviously both parties have had their share of ethical lapses, but that doesn't mean that every scandal is bipartisan. Abramhoff is clearly a Republican scandal. period. That's all there is to say about that. To attack people by saying that bad but not the worst isn't a good position, well who here is saying that Dems are in a good position?

As well everybody here knows we need to reform the whole system, as McCain suggests. But the problem is what sense it makes to put the "worse" incharge of reform instead of the "bad". Maybe we don't want either in charge but we only have two choices. I think a Republican task force with a couple token Dems (including the wildly incompetent Leiberman) is asking for trouble.
posted by Farengast at 12:47 PM on February 7, 2006


What you do is, you start with one group, deal with them, and then when the time comes, you deal with the other group, and so on, until some kind of anti-corruption norm is set. Or, you can hope everybody (and by "everybody" I mean "all the guilty parties") all comes together in the spirit of systemwide reform, and puppies for everyone.

Seriously. You can't run anti-corruption measures using the good intentions of politicians as fuel. It has to be a stick to beat pols with. The more painful the better.
posted by furiousthought at 12:51 PM on February 7, 2006


IMO, if Harry Reid took money from Abramoff's clients in return for favors, then let the chips fall where they may.
posted by empath at 12:51 PM on February 7, 2006


It's not that Abramoff is the "most corrupt thing ever." It's just that the whole GOP move to control lobbying in DC has exacerbated the potential for corruption and he is simply a manifestation of that. Abramoff is the rotten fruit of that GOP tree and it landed on their head.

And please, stop ignoring the fact that folks here have acknowledged that the problem is systemic. And stop with the "Dems would do it to if they could" fallacy. We're not talking about hypotheticals here; we're talking about the Abramoff scandal as it relates to this molehill of a controversy. As it applies to this, Dems aren't "just not as guilty" they are innocent. Asking the Repubs to fix the problems with lobbying when the impetus for this reform was the result of their own contemptible machinations is like asking GW to reform the TSP.

on preview: what everyone has said since dios's post.

Now, I've got to go to lunch. ;)
posted by effwerd at 12:52 PM on February 7, 2006


shorter Dios-- "The solution to dealing with dishonest politicians is not to hold them accountable, but to pass new rules."

How Dios plans on enforcing those new rules without holding people accountable for breaking the old ones, he doesn't explain.
posted by empath at 12:55 PM on February 7, 2006


Democrats did not take money from Abramoff.

This is not true at all, edverb.

Obviously both parties have had their share of ethical lapses, but that doesn't mean that every scandal is bipartisan.

See, we are talking about two different things. I am talking about the corrupted system. The system that has allowed both parties to wallow in something they shouldn't. Some of you are talking about a particular scandal and a desire to prove a particular abuse of the corrupted system.

Or to put in another way. I am talking about the problematic system. You are talking about a particular manifestation of the problematic system.

Again, this is McCain's point, and one that many still are not understanding. McCain is trying to reform the system; Obama is playing with his party in an attempt to sell a scandal for political gain. That is the allegation made against Obama by McCain and it is a distinction that is not being understood here. There is too desire to try to hammer home the particular scandal instead of admitting that there is a bipartisan problem that needs to be fixed.

There is a principle in the law called the "unclean hands" doctrine that a person cannot press for an equitable remedy if that person, themselves, has unclean hands.

Both sides are corrupt and it is because of the system is corrupt. The Abramnoff scandal is just a particular manifestation of this corruption that has been exposed. Republicans deserve condemnation from their actions relating to a lobbyist like Abramnoff, but that is not the sine qua non of the problem.
posted by dios at 12:59 PM on February 7, 2006


This is not true at all, edverb.

Is too.
posted by edverb at 1:01 PM on February 7, 2006


So the question then becomes, how hard do you sell Abramnoff as the most corrupt thing ever if there is clear evidence that Democrats took money as well from him, and Democrats aren't pure as snow on this issue?
posted by dios


Democrats took NO money from Abramoff, and NO money from his money laundering and bribery operations. To include Democrats in the list of people "Abramoff associates" gave money to, you have to expand the "associate" circle to include the people Abramoff swindled, people who were traditionally Democratic contributors.

In addition to this, all of the money that these "associates" gave - to Democrats and Republicans - was perfectly legal. The illegal money was after Abramoff got his hands on it.

Talking about reforming current laws is nice, but it is disingenuous if you then try to diminish the fact that the Abramoff issue isn't about loose lobbying laws, because he didn't slip through some loophole - he broke current law.
posted by Happy Monkey at 1:02 PM on February 7, 2006


dios, in addition to spellcheck, there's a cool feature entitled "link" in the bottom right corner of the text box. With it, you can cite evidence for your arguments, to wit, that Abramoff ever gave money to Democrats.

Glad you're enjoying Metafilter!
posted by bardic at 1:03 PM on February 7, 2006


Dios:

The donations of Jack Abramoff are on the public record. Please tell us which Democratic politician that he donated money to.
posted by empath at 1:03 PM on February 7, 2006


I don't get what you are trying to argue here.

I don't think you ever will, because for Dios, there is no "what" - there is only argument for its own sake.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:03 PM on February 7, 2006


shorter Dios-- "The solution to dealing with dishonest politicians is not to hold them accountable, but to pass new rules."

Please disagree with what I actually say instead of making up positions and attributing them to me. 100% of the time when people use the "shorter ____: "argument, they are creating a straw man.

I never said people shouldn't be held accountable. Absolutely they should. If anything, I have shown on this website that I am a firm believer in rules and believe that people who violate rules should be punished. So don't make up and attribute to me positions inconsistent with what I have said.

The just thing to do is to hold those accountable who have done wrong, but the solution to the problem is to reform the system. And that is what we are talking about here, and what McCain was talking about vis-a-vis the difference between real reform and the partisan reform.
posted by dios at 1:04 PM on February 7, 2006


Prediction: Dios will list the donations given by tribal clients to Democrats, conveniently ignoring the fact that after hiring Abramoff, those clients DRASTICALLY REDUCED their donations to Democrats and DRASTICALLY INCREASED their donations to Republicans.
posted by empath at 1:04 PM on February 7, 2006


Dios: "Please disagree with what I actually say instead of making up positions and attributing them to me. "

Ha!
posted by empath at 1:05 PM on February 7, 2006


Then what's your point, Dios? You set up a ridiculous false dichotomy

That is Dios's point. That's pretty much always Dios's point.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:06 PM on February 7, 2006


I never said people shouldn't be held accountable. Absolutely they should. If anything, I have shown on this website that I am a firm believer in rules and believe that people who violate rules should be punished.

In what manner do you propose that unethical (but not necessarily criminal) politicians be held accountable if you don't propose to do it at the ballot box?

You accuse the Democrats of electioneering this issue, but isn't the process of democracy the only real way to get these crooks out of office?

Passing more rules isn't going to stop a determined congressman from profitting from his office. Only voting him out will accomplish that.

And yes, I'm fully prepared to say the same thing about a corrupt Democratic congress in 10 or 12 years.
posted by empath at 1:09 PM on February 7, 2006


dios writes: The just thing to do is to hold those accountable who have done wrong, but the solution to the problem is to reform the system.

I realize I'm on your hate list, but please answer me this: How are these two propositions mutually exclusive? Why not punish the transgressors and have reform? This is what Obama wants, working within existing parameters and committees (which the Republicans, in the last few years, have done much to weaken in order to protect DeLay). McCain is talking the talk, Obama wants to actually do something.

Jesus, in metatalk you just sang the praises of direct punishment, i.e., bannination. Now you're saying the solution is not punishment, but long-term reform. Try and grow some scruples.
posted by bardic at 1:12 PM on February 7, 2006


And there is nothing particularly Republican about Abramoff. If the Dems were the ones handling out the earmarks, there would have been a Q street project to eliminate the ability of Republicans to lobby congress.
posted by three blind mice


I would say that that is an unsupported hypothetical, except it's not. When the Democrats did control Congress, they did not set up a Q street project.

Don't you get it? The corporations don't care who is in power as long as they provide access to the Treasury.
posted by three blind mice


The K street project wasn't a corporate issue, except to the extent that the Republicans are slightly more corporate-friendly than Democrats, it was a political issue. The Republican Party was trying to make sure that the entire political system in DC was completely Republican controlled, and any corporations that hired Democratic lobbyists would not be able to get an audience with any Republican lawmakers. That's what the K street project was.

Don't bogart that joint, Happy Monkey, pass it over to me.
posted by three blind mice
Well, that was meaningless.
posted by Happy Monkey at 1:13 PM on February 7, 2006


Democrats did not take money from Abramoff.

This is not true at all, edverb.


Link? Just b/c you say it does not make it true. It actually discredits the notion a bit. Sorry.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:13 PM on February 7, 2006


McCain is trying to reform the system; Obama is playing with his party in an attempt to sell a scandal for political gain.

It is my contention that the only thing that stops political malfeasance is the selling of scandals for political gain by the opposition. I don't believe this is particularly terrible, either.

Also, this is kind of a potshot, but I don't recall you being as enthusiastic about McCain's most famous bipartisan systemic reform initiative; what leads you to believe whatever he has in mind would help much this time around?
posted by furiousthought at 1:15 PM on February 7, 2006


I wonder if Dios will actually admit to being caught in a stone cold falsehood.
posted by empath at 1:17 PM on February 7, 2006


Ok, so I did a search. The information that I recall reading in the New York Times and Washington Post indicates there are connections. But I can see from various blogs that there is an attempt to dispute such things because money didn't come directly from him personally. I see the game here. Define the "Abramnoff scandal" in such a way to exclude certain things. Fine. We were talking specifics, so on that specific point, I can concede that it may be the case that no money directly flowed from Abramnoff; I certainly can't prove it either way.

Again, either Democrats are pure, or they aren't. On several occasions, there have been acknowledgements that they aren't in general, but the argument is advanced that they are pure from Abramnoff because they didn't take money from him personally. If that is the argument, then fine; we can play with those games. It is clearly a political game and one intended to try to win elections. But it still presents the problem of how do you sell yourself as been the "less bad" alternative without admitting your own flaws?
posted by dios at 1:18 PM on February 7, 2006


Hey, I notice dios only talks when people talk to him. Maybe you can use that knowledge to shut him up somehow.
posted by jon_kill at 1:22 PM on February 7, 2006


dios: It seems to me that Obama makes a pretty decent point about how he did support McCain in precisely the ways he said he would, and that from the first he was honest that he believes the work needs to be done within the walls of congress. I can empathize with his confusion at McCain's reaction.

I'm speculating here, but it seems to me that Obama perceives resistance to reform from much of the legislature (and administration?) that is the principal obstruction to actual reform legislation being passed. Obama claims that the point of disagreement is at the creation of a task force. Further speculation: Obama seems to believe that this task force would be incapable of overcoming the obstacle of resistance.

I can see why one would speculate that Obama is seeking to delay reform in order to provide an opportunity for the scandal to hurt republicans further. But such speculation seems to be built on an interpretation of Obama's letter that isn't necessarily merited. Namely, when McCain says the following:

You commented in your letter about my "interest in creating a task force to further study" this issue, as if to suggest I support delaying the consideration of much-needed reforms rather than allowing the committees of jurisdiction to hold hearings on the matter.

Maybe McCain's right, but I don't see a lot of reason to believe he is other than an extraordinarily partisan reaction to anything a democrat says.

Mind you, I think McCain's under a lot of strain. He's one of my personal favorite politicians, because I perceive a tremendous amount of honesty from him, despite the fact that I'm soundly democrat. I don't think McCain is guilty of a knee-jerk reaction on the basis of partisan beliefs. I DO, however, believe that he's guilty of projecting onto Obama the motivations behind a lot of other Democrats, when it isn't necessarily appropriate. I bet McCain is seeing a ton of resistance from Democrats (*cough* Kennedy *cough*) whose motivations are little more than partisan mud slinging and personal gain. But the leap in logic he's making in the quote above doesn't really seem to be about that. I think McCain is just stressed as hell and seeing opposition from all sides, frankly because that's almost exactly what he's facing.

So who is it that I think is having a knee-jerk reaction to Obama because he's a democrat? Well, that would be the people who don't see anything wrong with McCain's response.
posted by shmegegge at 1:24 PM on February 7, 2006


I wonder if Dios will actually admit to being caught in a stone cold falsehood.
posted by empath at 3:17 PM CST on February 7


Grow up. I just explained my point. I didn't tell a "stone cold falsehood." I relied on the information I had read in the newspapers and didn't realize that the current talking points was about limiting how you define "taking money from Abranmoff." I admitted that on your definition, you may well be correct.

Can you not engage in a respectful dialogue without petty comments like you just made that suggest I was intentionally lying?
posted by dios at 1:24 PM on February 7, 2006


But such speculation seems to be built on an interpretation of Obama's letter that isn't necessarily merited.

But I explained above why it might be merited: the mounting evidence of him de-linking his rhetoric and his actions.

So who is it that I think is having a knee-jerk reaction to Obama because he's a democrat? Well, that would be the people who don't see anything wrong with McCain's response.
posted by shmegegge at 3:24 PM CST on February 7


Well, that isn't me. I have said on several occasions in this thread that I think McCain is guilty of the same thing he is accusing Obama of doing; furthermore, I said that we should expect better behavior from Senators.
posted by dios at 1:28 PM on February 7, 2006


I see the game here. Define the "Abramnoff scandal" in such a way to exclude certain things.

Oh dear. Your trolls are usually much more subtle than this.

I'll tell you what, Dios. One year from now, I'll give you $100 for every Republican indicted because of connections to this "Abramoff scandal" if you'll give me a mere $75 for every Democrat. If this is truly a bipartisan issue, then I'm sure you'll have no problem putting your money where your mouth is.

Or is actually breaking the law just another of of those "talking points" you're dismissing now that you've actually bothered to read up on the subject?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:29 PM on February 7, 2006


I see the game here. Define the "Abramnoff scandal" in such a way to exclude certain things. Fine.

It doesn't include Democrats taking money from Abramoff.

The "game" here is for Republicans to EXPAND the scandal to parties to whom it doesn't extend, like the tribes Abramoff bilked, who made legal contributions to both parties (though sharply REDUCED to Democrats after hiring the GOP slush fund operator as their lobbyist.

We were talking specifics, so on that specific point, I can concede that it may be the case that no money directly flowed from Abramnoff; I certainly can't prove it either way.

Happy to prove it for you. Here are donations from Abramoff. Not a single Democrat on the list. It's not "an attempt to dispute", it's a cold, hard fact.

And, I await your apology for claiming something I said was untrue, when in fact it was true.
posted by edverb at 1:30 PM on February 7, 2006


One year from now, I'll give you $100 for every Republican indicted because of connections to this "Abramoff scandal" if you'll give me a mere $75 for every Democrat.

Oops. In my partisan haste, I got that backwards. Looks like you'll be rich!
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:33 PM on February 7, 2006


jon_kill, that's an interesting theory. Too bad we'll never know if it's true.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:33 PM on February 7, 2006


I see the game here. Define the "Abramnoff scandal" in such a way to exclude certain things.
posted by dios


The scandal in a nutshell: Abramoff took money from Indian tribes, and committed crimes with it.

At the same time, those Indian tribes contributed money to politicians on both sides of the aisle, as they always have and as anybody else can. This is not illegal.

But maybe, if not illegal, those contributions were unethical or corrupting in some way? If so, take into consideration that before Abramoff, their contributions slightly favored Democrats, and after they hired him their contributions shifted to well over 60% Republican. So if you want to take the tack that Abramoff "directed" money in a bipartisan way, even though his personal contributions were 100% Republican, remember that his "direction" drastically shifted cash towards Republicans.

Regardless, the tribes can contribute to whoever they want, and counting their contributions as tainted because Abramoff swindled them adds insult to injury, and unfairly diminishes their political voice.

On the other hand, if you want a systemwide change, removing all outside money from politics, and having public financing for campaigns, that could be worth discussing. It could raise some First Ammendment issues, though, since money is considered to be speech under Supreme Court precedent.
posted by Happy Monkey at 1:34 PM on February 7, 2006


The information that I recall reading in the New York Times and Washington Post indicates there are connections

and Saddam totally was behind 9/11
posted by mr.marx at 1:35 PM on February 7, 2006


dios, you didn't explain your point at all. You were wrong about Abramoff (please spell it correctly) giving money to Democrats--because it didn't freakin' happen!

Realize that you being wrong =! persecution by the rest of metafilter. You being wrong means that you jump into threads both ill-informed and for no other reason than to stir up the pot. While we're all entitled to our opinions, we aren't entitled to our own facts. Hell, you could try presenting some--as I mentioned, the intarweb has this neat hyperlinky feature which does wonders for the rest of us.
posted by bardic at 1:36 PM on February 7, 2006


The information that I recall reading in the New York Times and Washington Post indicates there are connections

and Saddam totally was behind 9/11


And the national debt is decreasing.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:38 PM on February 7, 2006


Can you not engage in a respectful dialogue without petty comments like you just made that suggest I was intentionally lying?

I didn't say you were lying, I said it was a falsehood. And it was. _You_ were the one that claimed someone else wasn't telling the truth, and _you_ were the one who was wrong.

Don't you think that in view of the fact that you apparently don't know even the basic facts of the case, that you might want to make yourself better informed and then rethink your position on whether this is on balance a largely Republican or Democratic scandal.

Particularly, you should read about the history of tribal donations to Congressmen and how many of Abramoff's clients reduced their donations to Democrats, while increasing their donations to Republicans after hiring him.

And it might possibly help if you'd admit that every possible issue might have more than 2 positions. For example, one could take the position that this was overwhelmingly a Republican scandal, while still also believing that some Democratic politicians engaged in ethically shady practices.

As Rep Shaddegg might say, the 'level of taint' on the republican side is much higher.
posted by empath at 1:42 PM on February 7, 2006


Can you not engage in a respectful dialogue without petty comments like you just made that suggest I was intentionally lying?
posted by dios at 1:24 PM PST on February 7


Maybe it wasn't intentional, but you did indeed lie.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:49 PM on February 7, 2006


(I guess he's off to Olive Garden again. Or maybe Ruby Tuesday's.)
posted by bardic at 1:57 PM on February 7, 2006


I'm personally very happy to see financial corruption becoming a major political issue. For so long people have basically accepted financial corruption in government as the de facto standard, and all but given up on seeing change. And if one party or the other decides to get up the balls to add ending corruption to their platform, more power to them.

We all know that McCain has been at this for quite some time, and it's possible that he's just frustrated that Obama isn't following in step. It's also very obvious that both sides are scrambling to appear to do something about this, without actually doing very much. If they can appear to reform without actually doing so, then everyone wins. Except America.
posted by anomie at 2:05 PM on February 7, 2006


John McCain: Moderate? Let's see:

- He’s pro-life
- He’s pro-death penalty
- He believes that that intelligent design should be taught in schools
- He favors the posting of the Ten Commandments in public institutions
- He stated the Confederate flag is a symbol of heritage
- He supports a flag burning amendment
- He voted no on adding sexual orientation to the list of hate crimes
- He voted yes on prohibiting same-sex marriage
- He voted no on prohibiting discrimination in the workplace based upon sexual orientation
- He voted no on the Brady Bill
- He voted no on the assault weapons ban
- He voted yes on banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers
- He voted no on background checks at gun shows
- He also opposes trigger locks on guns
- He supports privatization of Social Security, the Bush tax cuts and Reaganomics
- He voted yes on eliminating the estate tax and no on increasing tax deductions for college tuition

And yet he’s called a “moderate”. Huh. I suppose he is, when compared with the likes of Bill Frist and Tom Coburn. I suppose by those standards; Hitler was a moderate when compared with Stalin.
posted by weirdoactor at 2:11 PM on February 7, 2006


Well, he was against torture, which is apparently liberal.
posted by empath at 2:19 PM on February 7, 2006


It's also very obvious that both sides are scrambling to appear to do something about this, without actually doing very much. If they can appear to reform without actually doing so, then everyone wins. Except America.
posted by anomie


You may have spoken too soon.



BURLINGTON, Vt. -- In an effort to get the "dirty money out of politics," the Democratic National Committee will ask the U.S. Supreme Court this month to allow states to limit how much is spent on campaigns.
...
A federal appeals court largely upheld the law, which limits individual contributions to a candidate to $200 or $400 per election cycle, depending on the office being sought. It also says no one running for governor can spend more than $300,000 per election cycle and sets smaller spending caps for lower-tier candidates.

The U.S. Supreme Court said in September it would review the case; oral arguments are scheduled for Feb. 28.
...



There are strong First Ammendment issues involved, so this certainly isn't a slam dunk, but there is action.
posted by Happy Monkey at 2:40 PM on February 7, 2006


John McCain is what, 70 years old? Is it possible that he is past his pull date? Retirement at 65 might be a good idea for all government employes.
posted by Cranberry at 2:43 PM on February 7, 2006


McCain might once have been a maverick independent

McCain's voting record is mucho conservative. You don't get 100% from Eagle Forum and 90% from the John Birch Society by being a maverick independent. He does have an appealing personal story and personality, and he does know how to moderate his rhetoric and how to speak to the other party and how to work across the aisle. But that's only "maverick independent" by the standards of one of the most rigidly controlled party caucuses in decades.
posted by dhartung at 2:47 PM on February 7, 2006


/bookmarking this page along with the Sheehan thread, the sterling "libertarian-authoritarian" declaration, and his wonderful sense of humor and regard for women for the next time dios complains about how persecuted he is on mefi. Fact is, he's a liar and a coward, simple as that, and doesn't even have the guts to admit when he's wrong.
posted by bardic at 2:55 PM on February 7, 2006


dios, I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness.
posted by darkstar at 2:58 PM on February 7, 2006


Oh, and McCain totally comes out of this exchange looking like a prick and Obama, an actual Senator.
posted by darkstar at 3:02 PM on February 7, 2006


Or to put in another way. I am talking about the problematic system. You are talking about a particular manifestation of the problematic system.

It seems that's all you're listening to but not necessarily all that is being said.

Obama is playing with his party in an attempt to sell a scandal for political gain.

And McCain isn't seeking political gain from this? (That will be as far as I go into fallacious argumentation.)

How about we accept that both are modern politicians who do not act without considering the political gains to be had from such actions. If this is the case or the assumption then both are acting more than reasonably. The question then becomes: who is faring better given this little tussle? I would think Obama since he kept the level head and resisted resorting to snide bickering.

There is t[he] desire to try to hammer home the particular scandal instead of admitting that there is a bipartisan problem that needs to be fixed.

The scandal is not bipartisan. The scandal is obviously being used as the impetus for reform on both sides. Reminding McCain (and everyone) of this is not partisan. It is simply a matter of fact. Viewing it as partisan and asserting such as a means to leverage some gain (as McCain is doing with his poor choice in discourse) is actually more partisan than bringing the scandal up to begin with, i.e. He doth protest too much. The Abramoff line is this:

This bill, which now has the support of 40 members of the Democratic Caucus, represents a significant step in addressing many of the worst aspects of corruption that have come to light as a result of the Justice Department investigation of Jack Abramoff.

I'm off to Olive Garden ;) but I'll be back in an hour.
posted by effwerd at 4:03 PM on February 7, 2006


And yet he’s called a “moderate”. Huh. I suppose he is, when compared with the likes of Bill Frist and Tom Coburn. I suppose by those standards; Hitler was a moderate when compared with Stalin. -- weirdoactor
--------------------------------

Totally frickin' schweeet and exactly right on. Way to go weirdoactor. Very nice summary of the true colors of FrankenMcBain
posted by mk1gti at 4:43 PM on February 7, 2006


dios, I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness.

That's got Cafepress written all over it.
posted by jalexei at 4:46 PM on February 7, 2006


See, we are talking about two different things. I am talking about the corrupted system. The system that has allowed both parties to wallow in something they shouldn't. Some of you are talking about a particular scandal and a desire to prove a particular abuse of the corrupted system.

We are talking about two different things. You're taking a broader POV which allows you to (dis)regard the Abramoff scandal as SOP of a corrupt system which therefore justifies McCain's poor judgment in handling his issues with Obama.

From what I can tell, the other side (which includes me) of this particular argument is taking the immediate POV while acknowledging the broader POV and saying that Obama's mention of Abramoff is apt given its relevance to the motions toward reform and in no way partisan posturing. Moreover, mentioning Abramoff in context (to reform) is not inherently absent the motivation toward reform as you seem to imply.

You also conveniently neglect to scrutinize McCain as much as you do Obama by implying that McCain's sole motivation is to implement bipartisan reform (absent any potential personal political gain and partisan motives).

There is a principle in the law called the "unclean hands" doctrine that a person cannot press for an equitable remedy if that person, themselves, has unclean hands.

I'm not a lawyer so you might need to explain this to me. Does this mean neither party should call for reform? Also, given that Obama is a year old senator, wouldn't that give him more clout in calling for reform than McCain (who will have "the Keating Five engraved on his headstone"). Furthermore, given that this particular and immediate scandal involves only Repubs, wouldn't they be the ones with the "unclean hands"?
posted by effwerd at 5:16 PM on February 7, 2006


I have said on several occasions in this thread that I think McCain is guilty of the same thing he is accusing Obama of doing; furthermore, I said that we should expect better behavior from Senators.

Oops. Missed that. Let me revisit:

You're taking a broader POV which allows you to (dis)regard the Abramoff scandal as SOP of a corrupt system and assert that any mention of Abramoff must therefore be suspected of partisan posturing.

That's more on point anyway.
posted by effwerd at 5:32 PM on February 7, 2006


Here's a definition of unclean hands and what a surprise, it looks as if troll dios' self-serving definition is quite misleading: "...
a party who is asking for a judgment cannot have the help of the court if he/she has done anything unethical in relation to the subject of the lawsuit." (italics mine).

So it looks as if troll dios is again claiming that the Democrats having been accepting money from Abramoff. And looking at his postings, he's still never admitted that Abramoff in no way profited the Democrats.

His argument appears to be "Abramoff did business with organizations who were already contributing to the Democrats, and even though these organizations subsequently reduced their contributions to the Democrats, they still gave some, so Abramoff must have been responsible and the Democrats are implicated in the scandal."

Remember -- dios is a *troll*. He's only a troll. He wants to get everyone as pissed off as he possibly can. He doesn't care about logical reasoning. Ignore him and he'll go away.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:44 PM on February 7, 2006


Remember -- dios is a *troll*. He's only a troll. He wants to get everyone as pissed off as he possibly can. He doesn't care about logical reasoning. Ignore him and he'll go away.
posted by lupus_yonderboy 6 minutes ago


I value his contributions here. Sometimes he provokes, but he is almost always ready to engage in reasoned debate.
posted by caddis at 5:54 PM on February 7, 2006


well, before this thread, like so many, became about dios, i was glad to see some people are finally starting to understand john mccain for the complete loony bird he is. if more people knew what was actually in mccain-feingold, no way would mccain be seen as associated with any kind of reform.
posted by 3.2.3 at 6:32 PM on February 7, 2006


Remember -- dios is a *troll*. He's only a troll. He wants to get everyone as pissed off as he possibly can.

Yeah, I gotta agree with caddis. As much and as often as I disagree with dios (though I hardly ever (have the time to) comment on it), I appreciate his contributions too. Sometimes it does seem like he derails things and makes a thread about his opinion rather than the subject of the thread but a lot of times he manages to spur some really good debate.

Sure, he hasn't yet responded to my more lucid comments but at least he hasn't come right out and said I lack credibility because of my screen name.
posted by effwerd at 7:50 PM on February 7, 2006


This "playing politics" in politics really must stop, mustn't it?
One might spend one's time as wisely working to eliminate the stink from defecation.
posted by spock at 9:34 PM on February 7, 2006


I value his contributions here. Sometimes he provokes, but he is almost always ready to engage in reasoned debate.
posted by caddis at 5:54 PM PST on February 7


Mostly dios runs away from any thread in which he is proven to be incorrect, as edverb did above. How many threads is that you've fled from, d? A dozen? A hundred? You ought to be ashamed.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:34 AM on February 10, 2006


He posts during the day, rarely in the evenings and rarely comes back to a thread the following day - he doesn't run, he just doesn't stick around for all the pissing contests that tend to arise after a few hours discussion in most threads. He is unlikely to read these comments here.
posted by caddis at 10:10 AM on February 10, 2006


He posts during the day, rarely in the evenings and rarely comes back to a thread the following day - he doesn't run

Edverb's sourced rebuttal was posted two minutes after dios's last post. So I don't buy it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:25 AM on February 10, 2006


Well, I am discussing generalities, not specifics. You may be right on this one, and edverb is certainly right.
posted by caddis at 10:49 AM on February 10, 2006


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